EU accession brings improvements to the quality of life of member states’ citizens, notably the least well-off. That’s what seems to be confirmed by the most recent data on the risk of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, which analyses the extent to which the situation for the least wealthy is connected to the national well-being. This data provides an alternative parameter to GDP per capita, which only describes the average wealth of citizens, and says nothing of the real distribution of that wealth. After all, it is always possible for an increase in wealth to only benefit one part of the population, while wholly excluding another.
According to the figures published by Eurostat , Bulgaria and Romania are the EU countries with the highest percentages of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Nevertheless, they are also among the countries where this percentage has fallen most significantly over the course of the last decade, along with Poland and Latvia. In certain European countries, such as Italy or Greece, poverty, on the contrary, has increased, whereas for the EU as a whole, the percentage of the population at risk has remained the same for ten years. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU in 2007 therefore seems to have brought with it a real improvement to the quality of life and work of their citizens, who, at least by certain criteria, have been brought closer to the rest of Europe.