These are the key results from a new Eurobarometer survey on social impacts of the crisis, presented by the EU Commission. The survey, carried out in May 2010, marks the halfway mark of the 2010 European Year against poverty and comes after EU leaders agreed on June 17 to lift 20 million out of poverty and social exclusion over the next decade.

“The survey confirms that poverty is a major issue in the EU and that current economic and financial situation is aggravating the situation further. The crisis is taking its toll and a significant proportion of Europeans today are finding difficult to make end meet” said Laszlo Andor, EU Commissioner for employment.

“EU’s new strategy for the next decade: Europe 2020 and its target to lift at least 20 million Europeans out of poverty by 2020 sends a powerful message about all countries’ genuine commitment to visible results for a more just and inclusive Europe”, the European commissioner added.

Generally, Romanian citizens think poverty has risen in all the survey categories: 65% believe poverty has strongly increased in their country, 77% think poverty has increased in their local areas, and 71% it has risen in the European Union. The proportions increased from March survey.

Romanians have had the biggest problems in paying their ordinary bills, buy food or other daily consumer items with 91.7% of them facing these problems.

The crisis and calls for austerity measures come through in people’s perception of poverty. Greece stands out with 85% respondents who thin poverty has increased in their country. 83% of the French, 82% of Bulgarians, 77% of Romanians and 75% of Italians also share this view about their own country.

While in some countries, people expect further difficulties, like seven out of ten Romanians and Greeks expect their financial situation to deteriorate, perceptions did improve in others.

Around 60% of Romanians reported that it had become more difficult to bear the costs of healthcare, childcare or long-term care for themselves or their relatives in the past six months, with 52% saying it became extremely difficult.

Therefore, 86% of Romanians and Hungarians thought that at least a fifth of the population of their countries was living in poverty.

Similar to March survey results, 27.7%of Romanians in employment are not very confident they would be able to keep their current job in the next 12 months, while 9.6% are not at all confident in their ability to keep their jobs for the next 12 months. 18.1% think it would be fairly unlikely or at all likely that they would be able to find a new position within six months should they be laid off.

Finally, in terms of future income, 38% of Romanians explicitly anticipate lower pension benefits, 11.2% think they will have to postpone their retirement and 20.1% think they will have to save money for old age. Meanwhile, 30% are very worried that their income in old age would be insufficient for them to live a decent life, and 18.2% are fairly worried by such outlook.