|The Courier N° 130 Nov - Dec 1991 - Dossier: Oil - Reports: Kenya - The Comoros (EC Courier, 1991, 96 p.)|
The Community in 1993
In a years time, the Community will enter a decisive phase in its construction, with the effective creation of the Single Market and, most notably, the abolition of internal frontiers. It will lead to a considerable change in the daily life of the Community citizen. While for a number of years, industrialists, bankers and certain other professions have enjoyed the positive advantages of the lowered internal frontiers, this has not been the case for other categories of profession, notably in the social area.
It was for this reason that, in conformity with the aims of the Single Act, the Commission put in place a social base which was intended to set out minimum Community norms in the framework of the social area of the Single Market of 1993. This social area of the Single Market, which is the name of the programme presented by the Commission in 1988, is based on various considerations. On the administrative side, for example, it appeared to be impossible to draw a neat dividing line between the national and Community levels of competence. By the same token, working conditions in the different Member States are set out in legislation and in collective agreements negotiated by the social partners. The proportion of legislative provisions and collectively agreed measures varies somewhat from one country to another, and these differences could not be abolished without difficulty. Accordingly, it became evident that there was a need for the organisation of the European social area. To create and manage this area, the Community employed legal instruments to the extent that these did not undermine the freedom of manoevre of the social partners who are given a role in the process of implementing the European social area, under Article 188 B of the EEC Treaty. A programme emerged from this: the implementation of the social base. However, it appears that harmonisation of national provisions will not be achieved in all areas by 1993.
Set out below are the principal elements of the text concerning the establishment of the European social area. The text has seen, since its publication in 1990, numerous improvements with the adoption of the Schengen agreement as well as other measures pertaining to workers rights in the Community of 1993.
We also reproduce some important statistics from A Social Portait of Europe (The Statistical Office of the European Communities - EUROSTAT) published in 1991.
The Commissions proposals, which are directly linked to the achievement of the internal market, should be divided into three groups.
An important area is the fmal removal of existing barriers to freedom of movement and freedom of establishment. The Commissions position is based on the case-law of the European Court of Justice. All remaining travel and residence restrictions for workers from Member States and their families are to be removed.
Freedom of movement in the public service
Proposals that nationals of other Member States should be allowed to work in publicly owned companies will probably lead to lengthy, tough negotiations in the Council of Ministers. Although this is already practised in part in some Member States, there is still much that remains to be done in many places. Again, the Commission is basing its position on rulings of the European Court of Justice, which has repeatedly interpreted Article 48(4) of the EEC Treaty in a very restrictive fashion. This Article states that the general freedom of movement does not apply to employment in the public service. Strictly speaking, this could be taken to mean that employees in the public service and civil servants should always have the nationality of the country in which they work.
However, the European Court of Justice came to the conclusion that this exception can apply only to employees in the public service and civil servants, whose employment is connected with the exercise of sovereignty. The Commission intends to abolish systematically the current practice of certain Member States, under which only their own citizens are employed. Liberal employment practices are to be applied in public transport services, gas works, power stations, postal and telecommunications services, broadcasting and companies engaged in air, sea or rail transport. The extension of such a liberalisation to public health services, schools and universities, as well as civil public research institutes is also envisaged. Furthermore, the idea of giving access to the teaching profession in another Community country to those Community citizens who have completed teacher training is currently under consideration.
Migrant workers and other cross-border commuters
Workers, unemployed persons or persons receiving an early retirement pension, if they move to another Community country, are often worried because of uncertainty about their legal position. There are serious doubts about the rights to which they are entitled. Current Community law stipulates that unemployed persons must remain in the country of their most recent employment, as State support is not transferable abroad. The Commission considers that this situation must be changed. If an unemployed Community citizen moves to another Member State because he/she hopes to find employment more easily there, that person should retain his/her acquired rights. This should also apply to benefits from early retirement schemes.
Workers who live in one Member State, but are employed a short distance away in a different Community country, can be at a disadvantage when it comes to the taxation of income. In 1979, the Commission presented a proposal to the Council of Ministers, which provided for the taxation of the income of cross-border commuters under the laws of the Member State in which the person concerned is resident.
In this context it should be pointed out that the existing schemes for promoting freedom of movement, such as Erasmus, Comett and Youth for Europe are important instruments of internal market policy. In addition, the Commission plans a programme of action for promoting and improving the teaching of foreign languages in the Community. In the spring of 1989 the Council adopted the Lingua programme, which will help to increase the knowledge of foreign languages on the part of workers those on vocational training courses.
Effects on employment
The effects of internal market policy on employment are under constant consideration. Enquiries will concentrate on the sectoral level, and close attention will have to be paid to branches of industry which are already experiencing more or less serious difficulties.
Social policy has thus at its disposal three novel instruments which have already been described in some detail. However, the programme for shaping the social area of the Community comprises not only new instruments and measures as yet untried; the Community will also make use of the instruments which have been created in the 30 years since it was established in Rome.
The reform of the Structural Funds
The decision to double the resources of the Regional Fund and the Social Fund which was finally taken at the special summit held in February 1988 in Brussels, was a crucial element of Community social policy. The Structural Funds help to improve the economic and social cohesion of the Community. After the available resources had been fixed for five years, the Commission and the Council of Ministers adopted specific provisions for the operation of the Funds. Both institutions are responsible for ensuring improved coordination between the two Funds.
By supporting the exchange of information and experience, the Commission is helping to improve the level of education in the Community. The most important target group in this work is those young people who find it difficult to integrate into working life. The Commission proposes that the entitlement to educational leave be introduced throughout the Community in order to give all workers the chance to improve their professional qualifications.
It is planned to conduct a programme of action for adult education, which will be targeted, first and foremost, at workers in small and medium-sized companies. A similar scheme is planned for young people in order to help them to integrate more easily into working life. Following a suggestion from the Council of 1 December 1987, the Commission is drawing up a European policy on education initiatives. The aim is to produce vocational training measures which will be available in all the Member States and will help young people to acquire entrepreneurial skills.
Eurotecnet is a scheme which has been running since 1983 and is designed to promote vocational education in the field of new information technologies. New developments in this sector are first investigated and then passed on to interested parties in the most effective way possible.
Measures for harmonising working conditions and industrial relations in line with progress
Hygiene, safety and health protection al work. The Commission has drawn up six proposals for Directives on the improvement of safety and conditions at work, and presented them to the Council of Ministers. Many additional proposals will follow. All of the proposals fall under Article 118A of the EEC Treaty. After consulting management and labour and small and medium-sized firms in committees, the Council will reach a decision on the proposals by qualified majority.
An example would be the proposal of 24 April 1988, in which the Commission proposed minimum requirements for safety and health protection for work with visual display units. In the same year the Commission drew up a proposal for a Directive, which provides for workers in all Member States who handle heavy loads to be protected from the risk of back injury.
Furthermore, the Commission considers it necessary to introduce a series of rules for the reduction of major risks in shipping, fishing, agriculture and the building industry. In the area of health protection and hygiene, it seems appropriate to protect all workers in the Community against carcinogenic, biological and chemical substances at their place of work and to take the necessary steps to improve occupational medicine. In this context, it is essential that workers be informed about potential dangers resulting from the substances with which they come into contact at work. On the one hand, there must be suitable programmes to ensure that workers are informed of potential danger areas and, on the other, specialists with responsibility in this field will have to be appointed to official bodies or directly in firms.
Possible proposals for other provisions of labour legislation and company law. The Commission is not only considering minimum requirements which are valid throughout the Community and are directly connected to conditions at work, but also intends to propose general rules governing the basic rights of workers. In this way, account is to be taken of new developments resulting from the completion of the internal market, changes in the labour market and different recruitment practices. Workers are, for example, to be protected against the social hardship which could result from the growing mobility of firms.
The Commission plans, inter alia, to introduce a code of conduct for the protection of pregnant women and mothers.
The involvement of workers in the management of companies which operate on an international basis is a particularly contentious issue. As early as 1970, the Commission had drawn up a proposal for the articles of association for a European joint stock company, and the terms for worker participation. In the summer of 1989, the Ministers for Economic Affairs, who are responsible for questions of internal market policy, were presented with a Commission proposal on the articles of association of European companies, which had been redrafted many times. Following numerous Council meetings it became apparent in 1989 that films affectedd by the provisions governing European joint stock companies will be offered a choice between three types of co-management, namely:
· worker participation m company management through a body in which the personnel are represented, and which is independent of other company organisations;
· worker participation anchored in a collective wage agreement between management and labour;
· worker participation by the appointment of workers to seats on the board of directors.
Workers representatives should occupy at least one-third and not more than half of the seats. This alternative corresponds to, among others, the German scheme of worker participation.
The European Parliament contributed to the discussion at the end of the 1980s with a scheme that had been the subject of lengthy debates in the Parliament 10 years before. The proposal provides for the board of directors to be made up of one-third representatives of the shareholders and one-third representatives of the workers. The remaining one-third would be elected by these two groups. The Commission gave little support to this scheme, partly because of reservations over constitutional law.
At the suggestion of the European Council of June 1988 in Hanover, the Commission started work on a detailed comparative analytical study of working conditions and industrial relations in the Member States. The results of the survey will form the basis for new Commission initiatives and proposals.
The systems of financing social security, which vary considerably between the Member States, will be subjected to more thorough study and analysis. This should show the effects of these differences on the completion of the internal market. In Denmark, for example, a considerable part of the social services is financed from taxation revenue, whereas in most of the other Member States social services are financed from monthly contributions paid by employees and employers.
In spite of the many economic advantages which the completion of the internal market will bring, the fight against the continuing high levels of unemployment will still be one of the main tasks of politicians at national and Community level. The priority is to continue existing programmes. The Commission will produce more analyses of regional and sectoral developments, the necessary information for which will be provided by the regular reports on the labour market situation in the Member States. The main elements of employment policy are the ongoing programmes of action at local level (since 1986), measures to promote female employment, and the programme of action for the longterm unemployed which was requested by the Council in 1986 and set in motion at the end of 1988.
This programme studies the wide variety of experience in the Member States and examines interesting projects. On the basis of the results of the studies, there will be an exchange of information and advice. Equally important will be the achievement of further reductions in youth unemployment. The Helios programme is designed to foster the social and economic integration of handicapped people.
The particular responsibility of employers and employees has been referred to on many occasions. In its action programme, the Commission suggests two ways in which management and labour can create a Europe of industrial relations. At European level, the social dialogue should cover subjects of general internal market policy, such as social security, equality of treatment, training and further training. It is also considered desirable that contacts be decentralised to the sectoral level. In this way, the agreements reached during the Val Duchesse discussions could be fleshed out and implemented at the level of Member States, branches or particularly affected areas.
In view of the considerable changes faced by economies in the industrial technological and social spheres, the two sides of industry have an important part to play in regulating the process of completing the internal market. Management and labour must recognise that they share the responsibility for dealing with these changes. This must also be accepted at sectoral level. Both sides of industry must overcome any internal differences and inconsistencies. The Commission cannot be expected to do this. As the representatives of employers and employees organisations are partly responsible for shaping the social dimension, it is imperative that they break with old traditions and learn to think in new ways.
An intensive exchange of ideas between management and labour, governments and the Commission can be beneficial in this process.
Background to the Social Charter
Three months after being asked by the Commission to draw up a European Charter of basic social rights, the Economic and Social Committee presented, in February 1989, the opinion for which it had been asked. The representatives of employers, workers, the professions, farmers and small and medium-sized businesses as members of the Economic and Social Committee described the framework of the fundamental Community social rights, a framework which they felt should be set up with an eye to the completion of the internal market.
This opinion was adopted by a large majority, 135 votes for and 22 against. Whereas, in the draft stage, the emphasis was on a solution at Community level, the text finally adopted by the Commission stressed in several places the role of the Member States and their responsibility. Furthermore, the question of how these social rights were to be introduced in the Community remained open.
In March 1989, the European Parliament, in a resolution on the social dimension of the single market, likewise called for a major political gesture in the social field, a field which has been somewhat neglected in the process of setting up the single market of 1993.
Basing itself on international agreements and the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee, the Commission presented, in May 1989, a preliminary draft of the Social Charter. The Commission felt that it was imperative to take account in drafting these fundamental social rights of possible attacks on these rights and the risks arising out of the opening of the Communitys internal frontiers.
In June 1989, the preliminary draft of the Social Charter was discussed by the meeting within the Council of Ministers responsible for labour and social affairs.
It was subsequently the subject of wide-ranging consultations with the two sides of industry and finally became the draft Social Charter which the Commission adopted in September 1989.
The European Ministers for Labour and Social Affairs discussed the final draft in the following month and the European Council of Heads of State or Government, meeting in Strasbourg, solemnly adapted it in December 1989, at the same time instructing the Commission to submit to it, before 1990, an action programme and a set of legal instruments whereby it might be implemented.
The content of the Social Charter
The Social Charter defines the fundamental social rights of citizens of the European Community, in particular of workers, whether employed or self-employed.
The Charter lays down the major principles relating to the following rights:
· The right to freedom of movement
This right enables citizens of the European Community to establish them selves and to exercise any occupation in any of the Member States on the same terms as those applying to the nationals of the host country.
This right is thus concerned mainly with freedom movement, freedom of establishment, equal treatment, and the working conditions and social protection guaranteed to nationals of the host country.
This right also implies that endeavours be continued to harmonise conditions of residence, especially as regards the reuniting of families and the elimination of obstacles deriving from the lack of equivalence of diplomas.
· The right to employment and remuneration
This principle acknowledges that any citizen of the Community has the right to employment and to fair remuneration for that employment.
The right to remuneration also aims at the establishment of a decent basic wage, receipt of a fair wage and the guarantee of an equitable reference wage for workers who are not in full-time employment of indefinite duration, and the maintenance of adequate means of subsistence in the event of attachment of wages.
· The right to improved living and working conditions
This right, which is concerned with the development of the single market and, above all, the labour market, aims at the harmonisation of the working and living conditions of Community citizens while endeavours continue to improve these.
It is concerned mainly with the organisation and flexibility of working time (maximum working time, part-time work, fixed-duration employment, temporary employment, weekend work, shift work, annual leave, weekly or regular rest periods, etc.) and the approximation of the various labour regulations in force in the Community (collective redundancy procedures, declaration and settlement of bankruptcies, etc.).
· The right to social protection
This right aims at ensuring all citizens of the Community, whatever their status, adequate social protection by guaranteeing a minimum wage to workers and appropriate social assistance for persons excluded from the labour market and those who lack adequate means of subsistence.
· The right to freedom of association and collective bargaining
This principle recognises the right of all employers and all workers in the European Community to join professional organisations freely.
Apart from that, it also implies recognition of the freedom to bargain and conclude collective agreements between the two sides of industry and, in the event of conflicts of interest, to resort to collective action such as, for example, strikes.
· The right to vocational training
Every worker in the European Community has the right to continue his or her vocational training throughout their working life.
This right implies, in particular, the organisation of training leave enabling Community citizens to be retrained or to acquire additional skills by talking advantage of the facilities for continuing and permanent training which the public authorities, companies and the two sides of industry are called on to set up.
· The right of men and women to equal treatment
This right covers far more than equal pay for men and women performing the same work.
It aims at ensuring equal treatment as regards access to an occupation, social protection, education, vocational training and career opportunities.
· The right to worker information, consultation and participation
This principle covers the right of workers, especially those employed in undertakings established in several Member States, to be informed and even consulted about major events affecting the life of the undertaking and likely to have an impact on working conditions and the maintenance of employment.
· The right to health and safety protection at the workplace
The adaption of this principle acknowledges that every worker has the right to satisfactory health and safety conditions at his or her place of work. This implies that adequate measures must be taken to harmonise and improve the conditions pertaining in the individual Member States.
· The right to protection of children and adolescents.
This principle sets the minimum working age at 16 and gives young people in employment the right to a fair wage, to be covered by the labour regulations which take account of their specific characteristics and also to embark, after completion of statutory schooling, upon two years of vocational training.
· The rights of elderly persons
Any person who has reached retirement, or early retirement, age is entitled to receive a pension enabling him or her to maintain a decent standard of living.
This principle also grants to retired persons who are not entitled to a pension, the right to a minimum income, to social protection and both social and medical assistance.
· The rights of disabled persons
Every disabled person has the right to take advantage of specific measures, especially in the field of training and occupational and social integration and rehabilitation.
Implementation of the Social Charter
Implementation of the Social-Charter depends mainly on the Member States, or the entities which constitute them and which are responsible for the field of social affairs, and also on the two sides of industry in so far as it is up to them to conclude collective agreements at national, regional, sectoral or company level.
The part to be played by the Commission is also important, as is shown by the instructions given to it by the European Council of Heads of State or Government meeting in Strasbourg to submit by the end of December 1989 an action programme and a series of Community legal instruments governing the implementation of these social rights.
In addition, the principle of subsidiarily enables the Community to act when the aims to be achieved may be more effectively attained at Community level than at Member State level. However, the Commission cannot exceed the powers conferred upon it by the Treaty of Rome, amended by the Single Act, and the action it will take thus covers only a part of the measures to be taken to implement the Social Charter.
The Commissions role will be mainly to put forward proposals for Directives, regulations, decisions and recommendations or to submit communications which point out to the Member States or the entities which constitute them, where the latter are responsible for the management of social policy, how the Social Chatter might be implemented.
In this way the Commission will impart the maximum coherence to the various national and regional initiatives. Such coherence is indeed vital, for we know that the social aspects of the development of the 1993 single market are as important as its economic aspects and that these two fields must necessarily be developed in a balanced and convergent manner if that single market is to be a complete success.
As at 1 January 1990, the European Community, with 327 million inhabitants, had the third highest population in the world after China (1 135 million) and India (853 million). Currently, 6% of the worlds population live in the Community. In 1950, 10% lived in the Europe of the Twelve, but by 2020, only 4% of the worlds population will live there.
The population of the European Community is growing older: in 1988, 62.8 million (or 19.4%) of its 324 million inhabitants were over 60, while 85 million - 26.3% - were under 20. The oldest countries are Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany. Ireland is the only country that is still young.
The average population density of the European Community is 143 inhabitants per km², but in the most densely populated regions - the most industrialised areas, from north-west England to northern Italy and the main capital cities or regional capitals - there are more than 350 inhabitants per km².
Since the 1960s, fertility in the European Community countries has fallen to below generation-replacement level. The total fertility rate for the Community as a whole fell from 2.63 children per woman in 1960 to 1.58 in 1989.
For Europeans, life expectancy at birth is one of the highest in the world, with women living longer than men: 78.6 years as against 72.0.
Since 1960, there has been as spectacular drop in infant mortality, from 34.8 in 1960 to 8.2 in 1989.
Eight million foreigners out of a total of 13 million come from countries that are not Member States of the Community.
More than three-quarters of foreigners in the Community live in the Federal Republic of Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
The population of the European Community and the four most populous countries in the world 1950, 1990 and 2020
Almost half the households in the EC are one- or two-person households: households of five persons or more represent only 13.3% of the total.
Private households have an average of 2.3 persons and a large majority of them comprise a single family, which is sometimes a one-parent family (9.5% of them in Ireland and 4.3% in France).
After reaching a peak in 1972, the number of marriages fell until 1986, since when it has slightly increased, standing at 1 941000 in 1989 for the EC as a whole.
The average age at which people marry for the first time went down until 1975 and has been increasing since. In 1987 it was 27.1 years for men and 24.6 for women.
Between 1960 and 1988 the number of divorces more than quadrupled in the Europe of the Twelve, reaching 534 000 (2).
In 1989, births out of wedlock represented almost half of live births in Denmark, over a quarter in France and the United Kingdom but only I in 50 in Greece.
The size of families has decreased throughout the EC. The number of third or subsequent births fell by more than 60% in all the EC countries between 1960 and 1988, except in Ireland, where it fell by only 40%.
62.4% of EC households do not include children under 15 years; 6.5% include three or more children, and only 0.5% include five or more children.
Number of marriages, divorces and births - EUR 12 (1000)
In 1986-87 there were 59 357 000 pupils and students: in the European Community, spread across three levels of education: 22 733 000 at first level, 29 995 000 at second level and 6 629 000 et third level.
Numbers of primary school (first-level) pupils are steadily falling with the drop in the birth-rate, while numbers at the third level (in higher education) are rising all the time:
First level 1970/71: 29 093 000 Third level 1970/71: 3 510
1980/81: 26 098 000 1980/81: 5 350 000
1986/87: 22 733 000 1986/87: 6 629 000
Equality of opportunity between men and women has not yet been achieved at third level: in 1986-87, 46% of the Community total were women.
47% of young Europeans aged 15 to 24 claim to know how to use a computer.
Numbers of pupils and students at all three levels of education throughout the European Community (1000)
The activity rate for women aged between 14 and 64 rose in the Community from 46.6% in 1983 to 51.0% in 1988, but it is still well below that for men (78.5%).
Married men have a higher activity rate than single men (87.1% compared with 64.5%), while married women are less economically active than single women (49.1 % compared with 54.5%).
The services sector sector for approximately 60% of total employment in the Community, while agriculture accounts for less than 8%.
There were 12.7million unemployed persons in the Community in 1989, i.e. 9% of the active population.
The unemployment rate for women in the Community (11.9%) is higher than that for men (7.0%), while for young persons under 25 it is 17.4%.
In 1988, over half of all unemployed persons, bath men (51.7%) and women (52.5%), fell within the category of long-term unemployed (i.e. persons unemployed for more than one year).
90% of foreign workers (from bath Community and non-Community countries) have the occupational status of emplayee.
The majority of male foreign workers are employed in industry and the majority of their female counterparts in the services sector.
Population aged 14 to 64 according to economic activity - 1988 (%)
In 1988, the average working week in the EC for persons employed full-time was 42.5 hours (43.4 hours for men and 40.5 hours for women).
People employed part-time worked on average 19.4 hours per week; in agriculture this figure was 22.5 hours, in industry 20.7 hours and in the services sector 18.9 hours.
Those employed in agriculture worked an average of 43.6 hours per week in 1988, compared with 40.9 hours in industry and 40.4 hours in the services sector.
Part-time work increased in the EC between 1983 and 1988 when 13.2% of employed persons worked part-time. More women than men work part-time (28.1% of women in work compared with 3.9% of men). The highest proportions of women working part-time are in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark (between 57.7% and 41.5%).
In 1988, 9.6% of employed persons in the EC had a temporary contract; most of them were men (54.7%) and over half (51.2%) were young people under 25.
The most frequent cause of hours lost through absence from work is annual leave and public holidays (43.7% of hours lost) sickness and accidents (24.3%) take second place.
Employees with a temorary contract as % of total employees - 1988
Standard of living
In the European Community, average per capita gross domestic product in 1988 was almost 16 000 PPS (Purchasing Power Standard). It ranged from 8 553 PPS in Portugal to a little more than double at 19 130 in Luxembourg.
Per capita GDP has risen virtually without interruption since 1970. The only exceptions were two slight downturns in 1975 and 1981.
Of the 13 882 PPS of per capita net national income in the Community in 1988, on average 12 429 PPS were spent (89.5%) and 1 453 saved (10.5%).
Average income from emplayment in 1988 was 25 119 PPS, ranging from 14250 PPS in Portugal to 30 168 in the Netherlands - almost exactly double.
Over the period 1970-88, the pattern of consumption changed. The share of income spent on food, beverages and tobacco fell from 29.8% to 21.3%, and that on clothing and footwear from 9.2% to 7.8%. Meanwhile, expenditure on transport and communications rose rapidly from 11.9% to 14.9%, on medical care and health services (private consumption) from 5.1 % to 7.4%, and on housing, fuel and power from 15.0% to 16.8%.
Net disposable national income per head of population - 1988 (in PPS)
In 1987 the average per capita expenditure social protection in the European Community was 3 600 PPS.
The share of social protection in GDP varied between 17.0% (Portugal) and 30.7% (the Netherlands), i.e. a ratio of almost 1:2.
The largest share of social benefits (over 80%) is devoted to the old-age and survivors sector (45%) and the health sector (36%).
In the financing of social protection, the share of contributions from public funds varies between 14% in the Netherlands and 78% in Denmark. The share of contributions paid by employers varies between 11% in Denmark and 53% in Italy, while that of contributions paid by insured persons (employees etc.) varies between 4% in Denmark and 36% in the Netherlands.
Per capita social protection benefits - 1987 (PPS consumption)
The number of doctors per 1000 inhabitants ranges from 1.3 in Ireland to 3.3 in Spain.
The greatest rise in health expediture a proportion of total household expenditure was recorded in Belgium (59%) between 1970 and 1987.
Denmark has the highest rate of household expenditure on alcohol and tobacco in the European Community (3.9% in 1987).
Disease of the circulatory system and malignant tumours are the major causes of death in the European Community, accounting for 45% and 24% of deaths respectively.
Aids strikes hardest at men between the ages of 20 and 54 in the European Community (22 940 cases), with the worst-hit groups being homosexuals (47.5%) and drug addicts (31.1%).
The death rate by suicide per 10000 inhabitants in the European Community increases with age, rising in men from I .1 among the 15-24 age group to 6.2 among the over-75s and in women from 0.3 to 1.7 respectively.
In 1987, road accidents killed over 45 000 persons and injured 1 604 831 in the European Community. Nearly three-quarters of those killed were men, almost half of whom were aged between 15 and 34.
Standardised mortality rate by sex - 1980-1984 (per 100000 inhabitants)
Forests cover 24.2% of the Communitys surface area of 2 258 000 km².
In 1987 almost 5% of Community citizens professed adherence to a nature-conservation, wildlife-protection or other ecological movement. National proportions varied between 0.8% in Portugal and 19.7% in Denmark, and were below the Community average in five countries other than Portugal (Greece, Spain, France, Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany).
Per capita energy consumption rose in the Community by 14% between 1981 (2.9 toe) and 1988 (3.3 toe).
The number of motor vehicles per 1000 inhabitants continues to increase in all the countries of the Community. It rose from 301 in 1980 to 343 in 1985 (9).
In 1985, the Communitys road network exceeded 2.5 million km, compared with its railway network of 125 600 km.
The cumulative production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC 11 and CFC 12) rose dramatically from 217 000 tonnes in 1950 to 14.5 million tonnes in 1983. CFCs, which are present in aerosols, industrial foaming agents and coolants, are thought to contribute to depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere.
Number of motor vehicles per 1000 inhabitants
In Ireland, Spain and Greece over 70% of dwellings are owner-occupied; the figure is approximately 40% in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands and just over 50% in the Community as a whole.
The 1981-82 censuses showed that nearly a quarter of all dwellings in the Community were built after 1970 and one-third before 1945, particularly in the United Kingdom (50.4%), Belgium (48.4%) and Denmark (45.5%).
These same censuses recorded an average of 0.6 persons per room for dwellings in the Community.
The vast majority of dwellings in the Community are equipped with a bathroom and/or shower on the premises, as well as an internal WC.
Percentage of dwellings with bathroom
The most widespread item of household equipment is the refrigerator (present in over 90% of households in the majority of Community countries), followed by the washing machine.
Rents rose most significantly between 1980 and 1986 in Greece and Italy (from base 100 to 282 in the former and 226 in the latter), while in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands they rose only slightly (from base 100 to 126 and 136 respectively).