Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What the European Parliament Should Be Worried About: 23 Million Jobless on Continent

What the European Parliament should be worried about

23 million jobless in Europe

BRUSSELS, Belgium.— Unemployment in the European Union has continued to rise in the first part of 2010, with 9.6% of the economically active population — the equivalent of 23 million people — now jobless, the highest level since 2000, according to the European Community’s statistics office Eurostat.

Of that total, 15,763,000 were in the Eurozone, where unemployment grew by one percentage point compared to November, for a total of 10% of the economically active population, the worst figure since August 1998.

Spain is leading the jobless rate in the Eurozone, with 19.5%, almost twice the average of its 15 partners, with Spaniards under 25 years old particularly affected: 44.5% of them are unemployed.

Eurostat estimates that unemployment in the Eurozone remained at 9.9% in January, unchanging since December. This shows that unemployment continues to be one of the major challenges to reactivation in Europe.

Meanwhile, the European Confederation of Trade Unions reported that in Eastern Europe countries, problems with employment emerged after the so-called democratic opening and the economic shifts toward neoliberalism.

According to that labor federation, the factors that have influenced the increased poverty in that zone stem from the fact that even holding a job does not mean being able to satisfy all needs.

Many trade unions and social organizations are concerned about the current situation, which shows a growing tendency, and are questioning whether the political will exists to deal with the serious economic and social situations that are affecting Europe’s poorest people, a condition that constitutes a violation of human rights and dignity.

Translation by Granma International

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