I'm also in Europe and in my experience the lifetime of CFLs has been approximately equal to the incandescents they replaced, but the failure pattern is different. Incandescents used to see a bunch failing when we got the first onset of colder weather each winter, with a bunch of bulbs going at roughly the same time; CFLs fail more evenly throughout the year but nonetheless they do fail at about the same average age, I'd guess c.12 months. The failure modes I've seen are that they simply don't start any more, start flickering like mad or just get very dark. No fires or the like.
The other issues with CFLs also all still hold - slow to start, bad colour temperature, and most significantly mislabeling ("100W" equivalent bulbs are reallty more like 50-60W, and the "true" 100W equivalents are much more expensive and difficult to find).
Overall though the impact on our lives has been pretty minimal because we basically avoided using them in areas where we spend long amounts of time. Firstly, we already had halogen bulbs/fittings in some of these areas (using a dimmer halogen still gives a nice quality of light) and secondly where we didn't we now use candles a lot more than we used to. Actually candlelight is nicer even than incandescents used to be so in a weird way it's sort of been a positive.