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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A wasted generation, Europe's unemployed - capitalism in crisis!

Europe's unemployment figures were published today. In Greece, the unemployment rate is 26.2% (December 2012 figure), Spain, has a rate of 26.3%' and Portugal, with a rate of 17.5%.

Perhaps the most disturbing figure is for youth unemployment. The average rate for the under 25s in the EU is 23.5%. Nearly a quarter of Europe's youth are not working. In Spain the figure is 55.7%. So far Europe's young people have been remarkably tolerant of unemployment levels reminiscent of the Great Depression.

A staggering 188,000 young workers aged under 25 joined the ranks of the unemployed in February -  in these circumstances you're getting to the point at which social unrest is highly likely, because youngsters coming out of school and universities just can't find jobs.

The rate of unemployment in the eurozone has hit a record high of 12%, official figures have shown. The number of people unemployed in the 17 member states rose by 33,000 during February, to hit 19.07 million, the statistics agency Eurostat said.

The rise in unemployment was the 22nd in a row, making this labour market downturn the most prolonged since the early 1990s - further confirmation of the underlying weakness of the economy. The eurozone economy is still in recession, having contracted yet again in the three consecutive quarters.

The explosion in unemployment and the increasing precariousness for young Europeans are creating an unsustainable situation. The equilibrium of European society is being shaken. Only a change of economic and political governance can improve employment and training for young people . We need to change direction urgently.

Five months ago in December 2012, 5.702 million young people under the age of 25 were out of work in the European Union, of which 3,624 million were in the euro zone. We need investment in youth to give them training and access to quality jobs.

Thousands gathered in rallied at the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels to say no austerity and yes to jobs.

Bernadette S├ęgol, ETUC general secretary, said: “Austerity is a failure. It has not succeeded in reducing deficits and is having a devastating social and economic effect. Applied in a deteriorating economic context, this blind austerity has only worsened the situation. It has widened inequalities and further increased the loss of job security. The social models are coming under attack because of the crisis. Everywhere in Europe, employment is becoming precarious and wages are being revised downwards. The European trade union rally that we are organising today will concentrate on two priorities: the end of austerity and the fight against youth unemployment.”

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