Friday

23rd Jun 2017

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.

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.

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.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  2. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  3. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  4. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  5. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  6. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  7. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  8. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June