Monday

29th Aug 2016

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.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey