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This could indicate that the latter two countries seek to join the EU in hopes of more prosperous futures.
e) State of education in the country
From the standpoint of education, this is best ranked in Belgium, with a score of 8.8 on a scale from 1 to ten, and it is closely followed by France, with a score of 8.5, on the same scale. The Germans ranked their educational system with an 8, and the Dutch ranked their educational system with a 7. Turkey reveals a similar perception of its educational system as the Dutch, but the Croatians and the Turks have less positive perceptions over their educational systems.
From this standpoint then, it could be argued that all three non-EU member states would benefit from the accession to the EU as this would serve as grounds for improvement of their educational sectors.
f) State of health services in the country
From the standpoint of healthcare provision, the differences are mostly observable between the two categories of countries -- EU members and non-EU members. All four countries in the European Union reveal high levels of health care services -- access, quality etc. France is the leader of the group, with a 9 point on a scale from 1 to 10. It is followed by Germany, with 8.5, Belgium with 8 and Netherlands with 7. Iceland is the exception of the non-EU states, with a rank of 7. Still, Croatia and Turkey rank even lower, with 4, respectively 6. Through these lenses then, it could be argued that these latter two states strive to improve the levels of their health care services and aim to use the membership to the EU as a means of attaining this objective.
g) Freedom of gays and lesbians
The Netherlands is the host of the annual Gay Pride Parade, which unites gays and straights all together in a street celebration. The country is as such perceived as highly welcoming and accepting of the life style of gays and lesbians. Still, the fourth round of the European Social Survey indicates that the population reveals a low level of acceptance -- actually the lowest of all selected countries -- only 2 on a scale from one to ten. The highest levels of acceptance of the life style of the homosexual community are revealed in Iceland -- 8. The other states are placed on the inferior side of the rank, France with 3.5, Germany with 3, Belgium with 3, Croatia with 3.5 and Turkey with 3. It would as such appear that the perception of gay life style and acceptance of this -- including in workplaces and the lack of the adjacent discrimination -- is not a matter of EU membership, but more so of national stand and personal conviction.
h) Use of science to solve environmental problems
The highest levels of science usage to solve environmental problems are observed in Iceland, revealing as such that the country is highly developed from the technological standpoint. This was also observed throughout the analysis of the first indicator -- usage of the internet -- where Iceland ranked higher that the other two candidate states. From this standpoint then, it would seem that Iceland is not striving to adhere to the EU in an effort to improve its technology.
Lower levels of science usage to solve environmental problems are observed in all the other states, with the lowest being common in Turkey.
i) Happiness of population
The population in the Netherlands has declared to be the happiest, granting this index a 9 on a scale from one to ten. The second happiest people are the French, the Belgians and the Icelanders, with an eight value of the index. The Germans computed a happiness index of 7.5, which is followed by Croatians with 7 and Turks with 6. With the exception of Germany -- which is often perceived as a more reserved and less open people -- the countries in the EU seem to present their inhabitants with more opportunities to be happy. From this social standpoint then, it is expected for the non-EU member states to strive and adhere to the formation.
j) Feeling of safety
When walking alone, in a dark area of their country, the French are the ones who feel safest; they are followed quite closely by the Dutch, the Germans and the Belgians. Croatia, Turkey and Iceland all reveal lower levels of safety upon walking alone in the dark.
From this standpoint then, it is noted that the higher levels of safety and protection against crime might represent criteria in the determination of Iceland, Croatia and Turkey to joining the European Union.
k) Subjective health
The populations in the seven states assess their own health at similar levels, and these levels are generically low. On a scale from one to ten, Croatians and Germans indicated their subjective health as a 2; Icelanders gave it a 2.5 and Turks, Dutch, Belgians and French gave it a 3.
The low levels of subjective health would be more so associated with changes in the global environment, such as the emphasis on an unhealthy nutrition or a sedentary life style, elements which are common across the entire globe. From this standpoint then, the subjective health does not seem to represent an important criterion in the desire to adhere to the European Union.
l) Obedience in schools
The degree to which school teachers promote obedience in schools is rather limited in all seven countries, with only slight variances existing. As a result of these variances, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands seem to be placing more emphasis on obedience than the schools in Croatia, Turkey and Iceland. A possible interpretation of this would be represented by the fact that the first four countries already promote creativity, but they are also going back to discipline as a way of functioning in society, whereas the educational institutions in the last three countries would be more permissive towards students, as a process of social emancipation.
m) Women cutting paid work to attend to the family needs
When it comes to women leaving paid work to attend to the needs of the family, most of the countries reveal similar perceptions which agree with this statement. Intriguingly enough, this perception is less common in Turkey, and this could be explained by two potential features. On the one hand, there are the traditionalists Turks, who already believe that women should not work outside the household. On the other hand, there are those who support social change and allow the same rights to women as they do to men, regardless of the shape of the economy (Ozturk, 2007).
n) More jobs for men in times of job scarcity
The belief that men should be presented with more jobs when these are scarce is highly common in most countries, revealing similar features in six countries, with the exception of Turkey. In this country, this perception is decreased and this could be explained by the fact that women in Turkey are already less present in the labor force than their male counterparts (Tunah and Baslevent).
o) Standard of living for pensioners
The highest levels of life among the retired population are observed in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, followed by Iceland, and then France. The lowest standards of life for the pensioners are revealed in Croatia and Turkey.
p) Standard of living for the unemployed
The unemployed population lives by the highest standards in Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, followed by France. In Turkey and Croatia however, the unemployed live by dramatic standards, indicating that the countries do require improvement which could be supported by the EU.
q) Employment opportunities for the youth
The youth are presented with most opportunities to find their first full time job in Belgium and the Netherlands, which are followed by Germany and Iceland, and eventually by France. The lowest levels of employment opportunities for the youth are obvious in Croatia and Turkey, indicating that the two states would perceive the membership to the EU as an opportunity to improve this indicator.
The current project has started at the premises that the European Union represents the promise and hope for a better life. With this belief in mind, non-EU member states strive to join the formation and as such increase their living standards and the quality of their social life.
In order to test this hypothesis, several indicators of the social dimension of life were selected for seven different countries -- four member states of the EU (founding states even) and three candidate states. The starting point was represented by the belief that the candidate countries aspire to attain the same social standards as the countries already in the EU. The core focus in this stance was then represented by the analysis of the social indicators to test the existence of differences.
The differences were generally obvious in various fields, such as…[continue]
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