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20th Jan 2019

Unemployment greatest concern among Europeans, says survey

  • European perceptions of their national economic situations remain very gloomy, says Eurostat. (Photo: xOchoa)

The economic crisis and its social impact is a major concern for most EU citizens, according to a survey published Thursday (20 December) by survey-group Eurobarometer.

“The proportion of Europeans who say that the situation of their national economy is rather bad or very bad exceeds two-thirds for the ninth consecutive time,” notes the survey.

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Unemployment, the general unchanged nature of the economic crisis, and rising prices are among the greatest concerns.

In Greece, as well as in Spain, some 95 percent of those surveyed perceive their national economies as "bad".

The unemployment figures in both countries, and in particular among the youth in Spain, has prompted talk of a so-called ‘lost generation’. Those who do find work are more likely to have only part-time jobs or are on temporary contracts.

Others are leaving the country to find opportunities where the job markets are more accommodating.

Both Greece and Spain are enduring intense financial hardship despite efforts by international creditors to prop up their economies and despite EU attempts to stabilise banking systems.

The fear of losing a job or not finding one is pervasive throughout the EU.

More than six Europeans out of 10 believe that "the worst is still to come" when it comes to the impact of the economic crisis on the job market.

It is a view held by the vast majority in Belgium (78%), Greece (78%), and Portugal (79%). In Cyprus, where the national coffer is running dry, the figure almost hits 90 percent.

Citizens in eighteen member states rank unemployment as their number one greatest worry.

The fear of government debt came out on top only in Germany. And immigration figured among the top three concerns only in the United Kingdom.

Most Europeans do not believe the national economy will improve soon.

A large majority of Europeans think the financial and employment situation for next 12 months will remain the same and almost a quarter believe their personnel finances will diminish.

Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg are at the opposite end of the spectrum.

More than two-thirds of the population in all three of these member states say that the situation of their national economies is good.

Opinion

Small businesses: silent sufferers in the economic crisis

The economic crisis is also playing havoc with entrepreneurs and small businesses who face financial ruin when their bills don't get paid. In Hungary, writes the Magdolna Csath, the situation is undermining societal cohesion.

EU bleeding untold billions to fraud

Over €6bn of EU taxpayers' money was stolen by criminals in recent years and over €130m is still being lost each year, EU auditors said.

ECB takes over ailing Italian bank

Decades of mismanagement appear to have caught up with Italy's Carige bank as the European Central Bank takes control in a move to stave off another banking crisis.

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