Bulgaria is one of three European Union countries where about a third of the population cannot afford to get together with friends or family for a drink or meal at least once a month, according to the findings of a study released by EU statistics agency Eurostat on December 1.
In Bulgaria, among people younger than 25, just more than 26 per cent were in this position.
The figure rose to just more than 28 per cent in the 25 to 64 age group, and was highest among over-65s, at 53.4 per cent, according to Eurostat.
The agency was quoting from selected findings, extracted from a special data collection of 2014 on complementary variables on material deprivation.
Eurostat said that about a third of the population in Hungary (36.5 per cent), Romania (35.7 per cent) and Bulgaria (30 per cent) said they could not afford to get together with friends/family for a drink/meal at least once a month.
High shares were also observed in Greece (20.7 per cent), Malta (19.2 per cent), Ireland (18.4 per cent) and Lithuania (17.4 per cent).
The elderly in Romania are particularly affected: in the age group over 65, the share there reaches 43.0 per cent. In Hungary, the share is higher among the young (40 per cent).
At the opposite end the scale, the share was below one per cent in all age groups in Sweden. Less than five per cent of the population feel unable to get together with friends/family for a drink/meal at least once a month also in Finland (1.5 per cent), Denmark (3.2 per cent), the Netherlands (3.3 per cent), the Czech Republic (3.4 per cent) and Luxembourg (4.1 per cent).
Across EU countries in 2014, more than half (56.1 per cent) of the population in Romania could not afford to regularly participate in a leisure activity, followed by Bulgaria (37.5 per cent), Lithuania (35.2 per cent) and Hungary (32.4 per cent), Eurostat said.
In contrast, less than five per cent of the population feel unable to regularly participate in a leisure activity in Finland (3.2 per cent), Luxembourg (four per cent) and Sweden (4.2 per cent).
In most EU countries, the working age population is particularly affected. The only exceptions are Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, where the share is higher among the young, and Estonia, Romania and Latvia, where it is higher among the elderly, according to Eurostat.
(Photo: Irina Ignatova/sxc.hu)