Europe has endured a decade of disruption, with strong growth following the short-lived Great Recession before the economic and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The human cost of the pandemic, which affected all communities in the EU, was barely diminished when the war in Ukraine began, with people across Europe responding with a wave of solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people.
We now face a winter of uncertainty and potentially discontent. The cost of living is rising rapidly and the specter of recession looms. The average inflation rate across the EU was close to 8 percent in March, and citizens are feeling the pressure, as 53 percent of respondents to the electronic survey on life, work and COVID-19 from Eurofound reported that their household had difficulty making ends meet in the spring. 2022, and 16 percent indicated being behind on their home utility bills.
These problems are affecting citizens’ trust in institutions. Eurofound’s electronic surveys indicate a decline in trust in EU national institutions among respondents by an average of 13.4% since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020. This includes a decline in trust in national governments (-24.5%), health care systems (-10.2 percent), and the police (-8.1 percent).
Even more worryingly, these drops in confidence came at a time of a pick-up in economic activity with easing restrictions and a decline in unemployment, to a rate that was below pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, the spread of misinformation on social media and increased isolation during the pandemic may have been a key factor. In fact, Eurofound research indicates that trust in institutions is lower when social networks are a main source of news. The economic challenges facing Europeans today, and those to come in the coming months, may act as a catalyst for the spread of misinformation, making a challenging situation even worse and sowing the seeds of discontent and dissatisfaction among more vulnerable and isolated. .
It is in this context that Eurofound is expanding with its communications. Eurofound, or more officially, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, was one of the first EU agencies to be established, taking its headquarters in Dublin shortly after Ireland joined the EEC in 1973. Eurofound has been conducting research for 50 years on how to improve living conditions, working conditions and quality of life for people across the EU.
Eurofound talks it is part of Eurofound’s overall rapid research and communications response to the challenges of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The podcast series explores critical social rights issues on the EU and national agenda, how they affect citizens’ lives and work, and what can be done to shape a better future for Europe. While Eurofound’s in-depth research data and reports remain at the heart of its activities and are of great interest to policy makers at both national and EU level, Eurofound Talks also speaks directly to citizens and those who wish to Find out more about how Europe is changing. , and how.
So far, the series has explored how to make work engaging and rewarding throughout life, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various aspects of young people’s lives across the EU, setbacks in the path towards gender equality and the importance of an adequate minimum. wages in Europe. The latest episode takes a look at the digital age and platform work specifically: its potential and how its growth has presented legislative and practical challenges for Europe. Against this background, Eurofound experts discuss the broader implications of new forms of employment on the labor market, the growing influence of algorithms in our lives, and how new technologies can affect long-standing issues such as the right to go offline. and difficulties in finding work. Balance of life.
Eurofound, through its nearly five decades of experience and commitment to evidence-based research on what it is really like to live and work in Europe, is a trusted source of objective information for those close to these political issues in the EU. As a result, much of the work of agency experts is often unglamorous and deliberately understated. Eurofound Talks is based on countless hours of careful research and, as such, is an ideal resource for citizens fatigued with a clickbait culture that seeks to provoke outrage and stoke fear and confusion.
Subscribe where you get your podcasts, or listen free and ad-free on the Eurofound website, and follow the facts about how Europe is changing and what it means for all of us.