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Multilingualism is one of the founding principles of the European Union, but only one in five Europeans can speak two languages other than their own – even though the picture is improving. What really makes the difference is the effectiveness of language teaching and exposure to foreign languages.
The European Social model is pretty much on its last leg. Over the last few years, social transfers granted by the member states of the European Union are increasingly losing their ability to reduce poverty.
Where in Europe is taking the train fast and affordable, and where is it not? The European Data Journalism Network has gathered data on train journeys from 28 booking websites across Europe, collecting more than 8,000 single journey ticket prices and travel times for 73 sample routes.
In Western Europe and Scandinavia, people spend more on healthcare and live longer, while in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, less money is spent and life expectancy at birth is lower too. The EU average for healthcare spending is 9.9 percent of GDP. In Hungary it is 7.4 percent.
Political decisions, wrong investments and increasing competition from buses resulted in longer and longer train travel times, and to a shrinking service. Train transport remains popular, but it has to be made more efficient.
As the Polish government claims to fight against transport exclusion, trains are coming back to some routes that were not operated anymore. The merits and impact of these changes are not clear-cut though, as much larger investments would be needed to rescue local lines.
Security guards in Croatia suffer from harsh working conditions: extremely long work shifts, poor equipment, minimum salary. They are overburned and cannot have a proper private life, but they have little alternatives. Yet security business is flourishing in Europe, and companies make millions of revenues.
According to forecasts by the PEW Research Centre, in three decades the number of Christians will decrease, but still, they will be a majority in almost all European countries.
In Poland, we are still talking about increasing the number of speed cameras. In many other countries that debate is over and the conclusions are simple: speed cameras reduce the number of deaths on the road. Sometimes by as much as 70%.
The OECD has just published the results of the PISA test – the world’s biggest class exam, which its representatives conducted in 2018. On one day, in 79 countries, 600,000 school pupils, representing 32 million of their peers, tackled the two-hour-long test.