According to a recent Eurostat report, over a third of the population of Romania is at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Consequently, Romanians spend the most on food across the European Union. The allocation of a higher percentage of income on subsistence expenditure, such as food or utilities, is natural when wages are not comparable to those in Western Europe while living costs are.

Under these circumstances, Romanians are left with no money to spend on leisure or cultural activities. While the average European spends about 8.5% of their budget on leisure or cultural activities, Romanians only spend 5.8%, ranking Romania second from last after Greece.

Apparently, paradoxically, Romania is ranked third place in terms of both healthcare and education expenditure, in spite of the fact that access to education should be free in accordance with the Constitution. Thus, Romanians allocated 6% of their budget to medication and healthcare in hospital/home, compared to the EU average of 3.9%. Romania is still ranked second place in the European Union as regards the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

What tools does the Commission have to improve the standard of living across Europe?