Friday

25th May 2018

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Debt relief talks mar Greek bailout exit

While the Greek government has committed to fulfill the last creditors' requirements in the coming month, Europeans and the International Monetary Fund are still far from an agreement on measures to reduce the country's debt in the future.

EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption

EU trade chief said the US will impose tariffs or "other limiting measures" on 1 June, as the EU's offer to start limited trade talks is probably not enough for the protectionist Trump presidency.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach