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Europe suffocates in unemployment

19.04.2012  |  12:17

In early 2012, many analysts were predicting the imminent resumption of the recession in Europe. Against the backdrop of the worsening debt problems of Greece and Spain, the economic performance indicators in the EU for the first quarter were not the best. Now, the united Europe is threatened by a new attack: unemployment growth does not stop

In early 2012, many analysts were predicting the imminent resumption of the recession in Europe. Against the backdrop of the worsening debt problems of Greece and Spain, the economic performance indicators in the EU for the first quarter were not the best. Now, the united Europe is threatened by a new attack: unemployment growth does not stop for the fourth consecutive year. Another record was broken in March of 2012: the total number of unemployed in the EU has reached 10.8 percent. If the trend does not change, the impact on socio-economic sphere can be very sad.

What is behind the official European data on unemployment that is approaching 11 percent? Let's start with the fact that the real number of the unemployed in the EU is very different. While in Spain by early April the unemployment has reached 23.6 percent, in Austria, it was at 4 percent. Thus, Spain and Austria are at the opposite poles, and in the middle of the list are England (8.3 percent) and France (9.8 percent). The fact that Spain is the country with the highest level of unemployment in Europe is primarily caused by economic reasons, most of which lie on the surface.

The crisis began here with a sharp drop in the real estate market in 2008. In the end, the beginning of a recession was inevitable for Madrid. By early 2009, the unemployment rose from eight to fourteen percent. However, the government adopted measures to combat the budget deficit only to provoke its further growth. In the fall of 2011 the world media reported a significant worsening of the economic situation in the country.

The unemployment rose to a record 21.5 percent. By the end of January the total number of unemployed in Spain had reached 5 million. The actions of Mariano Raho government on labor market reform have not yielded tangible results, and only provoked resentment of Trade Unions that in late March announced a general strike. In addition,

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the government's program of budget cuts by nearly 9 billion euros could lead to new public sector layoffs. A similar scenario has developed in Greece. The Greek debt problem has been discussed for many months in a row at the highest level in the EU.

As a result, Athens was provided with a package of financial assistance under the observance of austerity measures. Such unpopular measures have led to a significant increase in unemployment that will exceed 18 percent by the end of 2011. The residents of England fully felt the consequences of the global economic crisis. In the public sector alone in 2011 thousands of employees were dismissed.

The unemployment rate in the country continues to grow. In the third quarter of 2011 the rate of 8.3 percent was recorded, which did not happen in the UK for seventeen years. In France, the unemployment rate at the beginning of this year was 9.8 percent, while the real incomes of the French continue to fall.

Over 11 million people - or one sixth of the population - live in poverty and social exclusion. Such data was provided by the French International Radio with reference to the March report of the National Monitoring Committee on poverty and social exclusion. Germany was nearly the only country in the European Union that succeeded in reducing the unemployment rate to a twenty year minimum in 2011.

There are approximately 7 percent of the unemployed in the country. Structural reforms of the employment law allowed the Germans to considerably improve the situation on the labor market. Today's publication of statistical evidence on the achievement of another unwanted record for the number of unemployed in Europe has generated a significant response in the media. For most experts the growth of unemployment to the level of 10.8 percent was not unexpected. Greece, Portugal and Spain have long been talking about the adoption of austerity measures. A continuing rise in unemployment is only a direct result of budgetary savings.

The inevitable layoffs occur in commercial structures, due to the harsh necessity of survival in times of crisis. However, the prolonged recession is not conducive to the creation of new jobs in the private sector. The EU governments do not hide their concern over the deteriorating situation on the labor market. At the end of October of 2011, when the regular statistical data on employment in Europe became available, at the EU summit an official statement was made about the need to pay special attention to the problem of unemployment in Spain. However, at the end of March there has been no change for the better. Several months later the unemployment in the country could reach 24 percent - analysts warn. For the majority of the EU countries the current trend of job losses is likely to persist in the next five years.

The increase in the army of unemployed Europeans faces new social upheaval, comparable with the student unrest in France in 1968. Just look at Greece, where the riots began to occur with alarming frequency. In the south of Europe the rate of unemployment among young people is particularly high. In Spain and Greece, the number approaches 50 percent. If the masses of unemployed young people splash out into the streets, Europe will be engulfed in chaos. However, the fundamental solution of the problem of unemployment in the EU does not yet exist.

The logic of the budget savings of the government continues to maintain a dangerous path of the new cuts. The pace of economic recovery in Europe is still slow. The number of jobs in the private sector in these conditions is very limited.

Therefore, hopes of ordinary Europeans for a positive change in the labor market are becoming more elusive. Yuri Sosinsky-Semikhat Bigness Read the original in Russian.



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