Shroomgirl - I can't talk for the whole of Europe, only my little bit of it.. and the following are my views - many other British/Europeans might have a totally different view!
France is still a highly unionised society. They have even MORE annual leave than the British do....
Try finding a French family in Paris during August, for example!
Our health service is in a bit of a decline at the moment - but it is free to all citizens, so we don't have to scrabble around, worrying if we can find a job with health insurance coverage... Many of our member countries in the EU eat what is termed a Mediterranean diet, so less health care is required, maybe?!
I can't talk for all Europeans, but I know that I earn more than my counterparts in the USA, with lots of annual leave and other, allied benefits.
I manage to afford at least 3 or 4 overseas holidays per year, with long weekends to other, nearer European destinations - plus a longer, more distant holiday, like Australia, every two/three years.
Our houses seem much more expensive here than those in the USA - but then again, our houses are much more expensive than an equivalent home in Italy or France, too.