October 22, 2015
Since the spark of the US mortgage crisis in 2008 and the major repercussions that left behind in global scale, Eurozone has entered into a vicious circle of austerity and downfall. The economic stagnation and the myopic insistence on distorting the foundations of a welfare state in the European South (i.e. much more affected by the financial crisis comparing to the European North) have damaged the very minimum standards of social cohesion, brought up continuous political instability, and ended up to the aggravation of macroeconomic factors. Sky-rocketed unemployment and poverty, in lack of growth policies, have underscored any effort to exit the crisis so far.
Greece, Spain Portugal and Italy suffer from structural unemployment. Greece is the worst case comparing to the previous three member-states, but way off worse in terms of youth unemployment. Approximately six out of ten (6/10) Greeks between 18-25 years old are unemployed with extremely low prospects to enter the job market during the next years. Spain, with a domestic market almost four times bigger that Greece, is also entrenched with similar unemployment rates. The Spanish and Portuguese so-called “success story” is a myth. It was never the case, and it will not be as long as such indicators are not efficiently addressed.
Brain drain is expansive in Greece, Portugal and Spain, as we can see in the chart below. But the problem is that brain drain is not always interpreted into a successful job quest, as a big part of emigrants ends up without securing a job, being many times obliged to follow an unpaid internship or finally decide to take up another degree just to increase chances to enter the market.
The proposal for a Pan-European Fund for Unemployment
The Vice President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis along with Kostadinka Kuneva, both Syriza MEPs (GUE/NGL), proposed the creation of a Pan-European Fund for Unemployment that could assist the national offices and policies with regards to this hot issue. The proposal entails the mobilization of a European mechanism that would respond into large-scale and deep financial crises, as the one we are experiencing these years, and finance around 40-50% of the monthly wage for a period between six to eight months, thus balancing the cost for national governments and creating a safety net for the unemployed. Interesting enough, such a mechanism is not subject to any Treaty revision and can be therefore structured and implemented with the minimum institutional effort.
The reaction / answer from the European Commission is expected with much interest. Beyond that, this is one of the first proposals that aim to tackle one of Europe’s major problems, not to say the most important one. And here is another field where a common EU vision is challenged. For good or for bad.
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