Friday

20th Sep 2019

Eurogroup chief predicts huge layoffs

  • Competition for jobs in the EU is set to rise this year as layoffs increase (Photo: EUobserver)

The chairman of the 16-nation eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned that job losses will escalate this year despite measures taken by EU leaders in recent months to boost the economy.

"There's a risk of mass layoffs by the end of the year," he said while addressing a conference in Brussels on Wednesday (15 April) organised by European trade unions.

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

Mr Juncker, who is also the prime minister of Luxembourg as well as chair of the eurogroup - the EU nations using the euro currency, urged world leaders to move ahead with reforms agreed at the recent G20 meeting in London, but said the EU may need to do more if current stimulus programmes prove insufficient.

"If by 2010, we see this is not enough, we will have to reconsider. Now to simply pour more resources in would be premature," he said.

However, he repeated the line iterated by many EU governments in recent months in the face of US calls for increased stimulus spending that a clear exit strategy is necessary.

"We are in the process of getting into a spiral of debt ... Let's not destroy what we have achieved in ten years. Inflation is a true danger," he said. "We don't have the right to pay off the debt on the shoulders of future generations."

A top priority now is to unblock the EU's malfunctioning financial system, he said, and in particular, action was needed to remove toxic assets held by European banks that are adding to the current uncertainty.

In Germany on Wednesday, European Central Bank governing council member and head of the Bundesbank Axel Weber said that the bank would outline a package of policy measures next month in order to stimulate the economy.

While the bank is largely predicted to cut interest rates further at its monthly meeting on 7 May, a string of comments by board members in recent weeks suggest the bank may also announce new unconventional policy measures to deal with the crisis. These could include the purchase of corporate debt.

But Mr Weber said any new ECB measures should first concentrate of helping European banks due to the systemic role they play in the EU's economy.

"Additional easing of refinancing by banks, for example in the form of extending maturities of liquidity operations, should have priority. Direct intervention into capital markets should take a back seat," he said.

Mr Weber also mirrored comments made by Mr Juncker regarding the need to rein in deficit spending.

"The call for more short-term state debt taking is not in my opinion warranted," he said.

"Germany could exceed the three percent limit this year, and in the coming year, we can count on an additional marked rise in deficit," he said, adding that as a result, the country would likely incur the EU's excessive deficit procedure for breaching maximum deficits allowed under EU rules.

Hungary tops EU anti-fraud investigation list

In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency said it concluded nine investigations into Hungary and found irregularities in seven cases. In total, the agency recommended the recovery of €371m EU-wide.

Exclusive

Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

A European financial regulatory body set up after the financial crisis is at loggerheads with the European Commission over whether to carry out a transparency review of certain financial products. The reason: Brexit.

Commission defends Mercosur trade deal

EU commissioners defended a far-reaching free trade agreement between the EU and four Latin American countries, against critics who fear it will damage European farmers' livelihoods and the global environment.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

EU banks more vulnerable to shocks than feared

Eurozone banks, such as Deutsche Bank, might be much more vulnerable to a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis than EU "stress-tests" have said, according to a new audit.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us