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Brussels, 30 August 2013
Unemployment: Commissioner Andor calls on Member States to step up "jobs effort"
Following publication of the latest Eurostat figures on unemployment in the EU in July 2013 László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion made the following comments:
"GDP growth turned positive in the 2nd quarter and latest unemployment figures confirm that joblessness has stopped rising in many countries, even in Spain, Portugal and Ireland."
"After six quarters of recession and ten quarters of rising unemployment, this levelling off in unemployment is relatively good news."
"It is encouraging that many countries have managed to slightly reduce seasonally-adjusted unemployment without a time lag after economic growth picked up or even while still in recession. The slight decline in unemployment in these countries shows the importance of active employment policy measures like hiring subsidies, reduced taxes on low-paid labour, re-skilling and good-quality job placement services."
"But clearly it is unacceptable that more than 26.6 million jobseekers are still without a job in the EU (19.2 million in the eurozone), of which more than 5.5 million are aged under 25 (3.5 million in the eurozone). The recent improvements are minimal, and the situation is still very fragile. This is no time for celebration or complacency. On the contrary, now that we can see we are on the right employment policy track we must step up our 'jobs effort'."
"The budding recovery also reflects several recent broader policy shifts, which must be consolidated and continued to overcome the financial and economic crisis: progress on reforming the euro zone, including banking union; innovative actions of the ECB and moderation of fiscal consolidation."
"The EU has shown it's capable of collective action, but we must do much more."
"Further decisive steps are needed regarding the euro-crisis, especially to rapidly implement the banking union, strengthen the social dimension of the economic and monetary union, and make greater progress towards political and fiscal union."
"The integrity of the euro zone has been preserved through great sacrifices, and renewed business confidence is based on expectations of further progress in solving the current crisis."
"The social emergency in 'peripheral' countries can still be explosive, unless countries step up solidarity, as they did with the Youth Employment Initiative, to give people renewed hope for a decent economic future."
"If we stay this new course, growth can pick up further, which will create breathing space for necessary structural reforms in many Member States like overcoming the labour market divide between groups with very different types of contracts. We need to step up investment in skills to give everyone the chance to earn a decent living through their work."
"Crucially, with the help of the EU funds, governments must proceed full-steam ahead to put in place Youth Guarantee schemes, notably with the help of the European Social Fund, topped up by the Youth Employment Initiative, to ensure that everyone under 25 gets a good offer of work, training or education within four months of leaving school or losing their job. We must reach those hardest-to-help. This is important not only for social cohesion, business confidence and political stability in the short run, but also for the long-term growth potential of the EU economy."
"We will only be able to speak about a robust recovery when the EU economy creates 200-300 thousand new jobs every month, year after year. And clearly, a real job-rich recovery must not be based on zero-hours contracts or long-term mini-jobs. Only if working people make a decent living, and can buy what others sell, will truly positive dynamics return to the European labour market."
Details of the July 2013 unemployment figures published by Eurostat