Burdened by personal health problems, as well as inequality and injustice in society, Romanians seem to be the saddest citizens in the European Union, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey published by the European Commission.

Only 13% of respondents in Romania said they “strongly agreed,” with the statement “I generally consider myself a happy person,” the smallest percentage in the EU. 46% of respondents said they agreed, 11% disagreed, 2% said they “strongly disagreed,” and 28% said they “neither agreed nor disagreed” with the statement.

A majority of  Irish (52%), on the other hand, said they considered themselves happy, with 45% saying they “agreed” that they were happy.

New poll shows most Europeans think life is generally fair, but have concerns over justice, political decisions and income inequality.

The main findings of the Eurobarometer survey cover education, income, social status and inter-generational mobility. They also address perceptions of migration and globalisation, the former being one of the drivers of rising inequalities and the latter being a proxy for political preferences which are among the determinants of attitudes to fairness and inequality:

  • More than half of respondents think that people have equal opportunities to get ahead in life(58%). However, this figure hides substantial regional disparities, with 81% agreeing in Denmark, but only 18% in Greece.
  • Respondents are less optimistic about fairness in specific fields. Only 39% are confident that justice always prevails, while the same proportion disagrees. Even more pessimistically, only 32% agree that political decisions are applied consistently to all citizens and 48% disagree. Overall, people are more likely to perceive things to be fair if they are better educated, younger, and better-off.
  • The overwhelming majority think that income differences are too great (84%), ranging from 96% in Portugal and 92% in Germany to 59% in the Netherlands. In all countries except Denmark, more than 60% agree that governments should take measures to reduce differences.
  • For those who want to get ahead in life, good health and quality education are regarded as essential or important by 98% and 93% of respondents, respectively. Working hard and knowing the right people are also deemed essential or important by more than 90% of respondents. Coming from a wealthy family, having political connections, being of a specific ethnic origin or birth gender are seen as less important.
  • Fewer than half of respondents (46%) believe that opportunities to get ahead have become more equal compared to 30 years ago, with more than 70% agreeing in Malta, Finland, and Ireland, but fewer than 25% in Croatia, France, and Greece.
  • Overall, 47% of Europeans think that globalisation is a good thing, while 21% disagree. 39% think migration into their country is a good thing while 33% do not.
  • The Special Eurobarometer 471 on Fairness, inequality and inter-generational mobility was conducted through face to face interviews between 2 and 11 December 2017. A total of 28,031 people were interviewed in 28 EU countries.