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Bulgarians among least satisfied Europeans

Date: 24.03.2006

Bulgarians are less optimistic about the future and less satisfied with life than the other Europeans, according to the European Quality of Life Survey.

The survey covers 26,000 respondents in 28 European countries, including Bulgaria, and has been conducted by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, a Dublin-based EU-agency. The findings of the survey were presented by the Foundation's director, Jorma Karppinen, in Sofia on Tuesday.

No more than 12 % of the Bulgarians are upbeat about the future, while a total of 29% of the Romanians say they believe they will live better in the future. The figure for Turkey stands at 27 % and 20% for the older EU member states.

As many as 85% of Bulgarians cannot afford a week's annual holiday. Yet, a surprisingly low (5%) have difficulties in footing utility bills, which is close to the average levels in the former EU15 countries.

Two thirds of Bulgarians report difficulties in making ends meet, says the survey. Despite poor material conditions and quality of life, however, more than four out of five Bulgarians (nearly 85%) own their own home without a mortgage. The index is at 66% in the new EU member states and no more than 35% for the members.

Bulgarians also rate the quality of housing and the local environment higher than in the other EU candidate countries Romania and Turkey, experts from the surveying body explained.

Labour Minister Emiliya Maslarova commented the dark picture by saying that "many things have changed in the county, but it is still worrying that the qualify of life in Bulgaria is below that in European countries."

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policymaking with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research.

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