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Analysing 'European' model slippery

Analysing 'European' model slippery
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A new study out has asked whether Europeans share the same values. Done for the global advertising and marketing agency network Euro RSCG, by TNS Sofres, it is entitled: Is it possible to meet a European citizen? Without giving a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, the study says: 73% of respondents rated competition as positive for growth and employment;59% overall said they valued their work (though only 45% in Britain);85% defended universal access to free medical care;63% defended a minimum wage.

But in seeking outlines for a ‘European’ model, the analysts face vast disparities, such as 83% of Poles against making it easier to sack someone while in Germany it is only 37%. That is a labour and economic consideration. There are also cultural and societal views. Expert Gilles Finchelstein says something which may reflect on the Dutch rejection of the EU constitution: “Europeans share very similar value systems. Yet when asked if they feel close to other European countries or far away from them, they (say they) feel distant. And where that is felt the most is in the Netherlands.” In Italy, 82% reject the death penalty; It is only 43% in the Czech Republic. In spite of broad differences of opinion, whether on this or economics, religion or abortion, women tending children, sexuality or the environment, the study says “Europeans have more values in common than they think”.