The former East bloc won freedom after the Cold War but payed a very high price. Social and economic transition had a war-like impact on people’s social life. Confidence in each other and in social institutions is very low and so is the general moral. I think that should be a consideration in European policy-making.
According to the Pew Research Center, social trust has significantly changed over Europe since 1991 while remained almost unchanged in the U.S. The European Union should be hailed: since the Single Europe Act and later the Maastricht Treaty brought us closer, social trust went up in all Western European democracies. The European Union is a huge success: it is wealthy, stable, it is the most peaceful region in the world, and people have an increasing social trust.
However, in transition countries people had lost all their known public institutions from school to pension, and had to cope with new ones, new jobs, and a new way of life. This has disrupted their lives, and many have not found a way to cope with these changes in the new legal economy. These countries have a much lower public trust than in 1991, and this also true for Spain, which had started its social and economic transition more than a decade earlier.
The European Union can be quite insensitive to the special needs and special fears of its new members states, should it be visa-free travel to the United States or energy security. This is a bad policy because it alienates the most committed European citizens from the Union: Central Europeans did great sacrifices to achieve EU and NATO membership, and generally have a higher trust in European Union institutions than their Western peers, and sometimes even higher than in their national ones.Author : Dániel Antal