European values mapped

Saturday 3rd December 2011

The second edition of Atlas of European Values, (€139) is available from 6 December 2011 has been published by Brill and in more than 200 maps, diagrams and charts, shows how the people in 45 European countries think about religion, immigration, sexuality, democracy, work, family, gender relations and morality. Contrasted with the first edition (below) gives insight into what values are changing.

The vast majority of Europeans welcome European integration, but few Europeans actually feel European. There remain large value between European regions (West, South, Central and East). 

But the values of Central Europeans are slowly converging with Western Europeans. As Central European values become more liberal, the trend towards more individual freedom and tolerance in Western Europe slows down. (Left: 1st edition €156)

‘The book also provides a picture of the direction in which Europe seems to be heading,’ writes European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in its Preface. ‘Modernisation and individualisation have gained ground, especially in the North-Western parts. However, traditional family values still dominate.’

The Atlas of European Values also reveals that:

  • Confidence in the EU is highest in countries that are keen to receive funds from the EU and lowest in the countries that provide the funding.
  • Greeks, Bulgarians and Romanians are much less critical of social security fraud than the average European.
  • Europeans retain relatively traditional family values and loyalty is seen as the key success factor for a marriage. While single women mothers are accepted, Europeans think that it is better for a child to have a father.
  • Despite the high divorce rate, marriage remains popular.
  • In northern Europe, cheating in marriages is more tolerated than in Southern Europe.
  •  Eastern Europeans tolerate homosexuals, but do not want them as neighbours.
  • Europeans are still religious, but religion is increasingly a personal matter and is no longer linked to an institution.
  • The rich countries of Europe are the least willing to pay for a clean environment.
  • There is no moral decline, as Europeans en masse condemn illegal activities such as tax evasion or travelling without a valid ticket.
  • Europeans think democracy the best political system, but confidence in governments and parliaments is low.
  •  A majority of people in both Eastern and Western Europe are willing to have a government of technocrats.

‘The Atlas of European Values is an important and unparalleled document reflecting  the changing face of Europe,’ says (left)  Loek Halman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Tilburg University.

‘For anyone who wishes to understand Europe today and the changes taking place in Europe, this Atlas is an essential read.’

Inge Sieben, senior researcher at Tilburg adds ‘Here is a picture of Europe that goes further than the day-to-to-day skirmishes over monetary union and Eurobonds. The Atlas allows us to see what Europeans themselves are thinking and what they value most.’

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