Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

Annual jobless figures suggest sluggish improvements

Figures released on Friday (2 May) by the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, indicate large differences remain in unemployment rates across member states.

With an 11.8 percent overall jobless rate in the eurozone, the chances of people landing a job remain low in countries like Greece and Spain when compared to Austria and Germany.

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

At 26.7 percent, austerity-hit Greece still has the worst unemployment rate in the EU, followed closely by Spain with 25.3 percent. Austria at 4.9 percent and Germany at 5.1 percent have the lowest.

The figures have more or less remained the same compared to one year ago, with only incremental improvements in Spain.

EU social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor called for more investment into job creation.

“The ultimate factor that will determine Europe's economic future is whether we can hold together and further strengthen our Economic and Monetary Union, or whether we let weaker members of the EU and of our societies drift away,” he said.

Earlier this year, Andor warned that one in four Europeans is at risk of poverty, despite unemployment figures dropping in some member states.

Young people are the worst affected by the unemployment crisis. Only around one in four people of working age under 25 have a job.

To offset the trend, the EU last summer launched its Youth Guarantee scheme with a promise to help the young find jobs, continue their education, or land a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.

EU money to support the scheme is primarily sourced from the European Social Fund (ESF).

Andor's spokesperson said the fund should continue to be worth more than €10 billion every year in the 2014-20 period.

Another €6 billion is meant to be a top-up for the ESF during the same period, he added.

But given the scale of the problem, the EU plan has been criticised for being underfunded and lacking in ambition.

The Brussels-based European Youth Forum in a study out in April on ten member states says the scheme has yet to live up to its promises.

“It is a good way of tackling youth unemployment but effectively so far there hasn’t been enough ambition in it and enough political will in some member states to implement it properly,” said a European Youth Forum spokesperson.

Friday’s Eurostat figures confirm only slight improvements when it comes to getting the young into steady work.

Youth unemployment in the eurozone in March 2013 was an even 24 percent. As of last March, it stood at 23.7 percent, according to Eurostat’s latest figures.

The EU, for its part, is set to publish spring economic forecasts for member states on Monday.

The study will look at, among other things, unemployment trends from 2013 and forecasts into 2015 throughout the Union.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us