Thursday

18th Apr 2019

Southern EU countries post record job losses

  • The unemployment rate jumped almost 10 percent in Greece (Photo: YoungJ523)

Jobs in southern Europe are vanishing at record rates, widening the gap with the more prosperous north.

The unemployment figures for November 2012 published by the European Commission on Tuesday (8 January) show that Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Spain saw the biggest losses compared to November 2011.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The number of people out of work in Cyprus jumped from 9.5 percent to 14 percent. In Greece, it rose from 18.9 percent to 26 percent. The Portuguese toll went from 14.1 percent to 16.3 percent and the Spanish figure went from 23 percent to 26 percent.

Italy fared little better, with the rate climbing from 9.3 percent to 11.1 percent.

By contrast, the German unemployment rate went down a notch to 5.4 percent. It climbed by less than 1 percent in Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands and in the Nordic countries.

The figures for youth unemployment are even more alarming.

In Greece and Spain, around 57 percent of under 25s have no job. In Italy and Portugal, around 38 percent of young people have no way to earn a living.

The difference between the south and north is likely to fuel debate on whether the one-size-fits all fiscal policy in the eurozone is sustainable in the long run.

For his part, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who currently holds the EU presidency, called the results "completely unacceptable" while on a visit to Germany on Tuesday.

Greek leader Antonis Samarras, in Germany the same day, referred to the fact that EU-mandated austerity is part of the reason for the jobs pain. "Our country is making enormous efforts and many are paying a high price, in order to get things back on track," he told press.

Pope Benedict XVI in a rare intervention also warned that the wealth gap is dangerous for the Union.

Noting that most of the anti-crisis effort so far has been designed to stop markets from pricing southern European bonds at higher levels than benchmark German papers, he said: "If the differential index between financial rates represents a source of concern, the increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for dismay."

"It is a question of refusing to be resigned to a 'spread' in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in the financial sector," he added, Bloomberg reports.

Opinion

The erosion of southern Europe

“Europe is back!” is the new, though cautious market mantra. Certainly, Europe will ultimately recover, but it will be a different Europe. Current hopes are inflated, as evidenced by the erosion of southern Europe.

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us