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European economic recovery is fragile and does not reduce unemployment

30 April 2014 / 19:04:56  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

There are three main problems associated with high unemployment in Europe, namely youth unemployment, the fact that almost half of the unemployed have been in this situation for more than a year and labour market segmentation, as explained by EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor. "Remaining outside the labour market for long periods of time reduces the working ability of people and causes a loss of human resources," he said during a press conference on the results of the informal meeting of Ministers for Employment in Athens.

"The recovery of the European economy is very fragile and it does not have a significant impact on unemployment at present," said Andor. He stressed that the European Commission is particularly committed to fighting unemployment, adding that at least 20% of the social needs funds within the European semester are used to support those Europeans who are affected by it.

At the same time, Greek Minister of Employment Yiannis Vroutsis announced that unemployment in Greece seems to be decreasing for the first time due to the reforms that have been implemented in recent years. "I have been insisting for a long time that unemployment started declining in 2013. The data that the National Statistics Office is about to announce in the coming days confirms this too as it reports a 1% decline over the past four months. I.e it decreased from 27.7% in December 2013 to 26.7%." Vroutsis forecasted that in 2018 unemployment in Greece would drop to 15.9%.


The Greek Minister also announced that the minimum guaranteed remuneration that the ministers discussed at one of their meetings on Tuesday would be applied on a pilot basis in two regions of Greece in the second half of the year and completely in 2015. He however stressed that "this is only a temporary tool to fight poverty."

Yiannis Vroutsis was clear that salaries and pensions in the country would not be further reduced. He defined the cuts of auxiliary pensions and lump sum retirement benefits as "necessary and fair", adding that the future pensions as well as the sustainability of insurance funds are guaranteed due to them.

The Minister admitted that, despite the efforts of his department, the pension system in Greece continues to be segmented. He expressed his confidence that the practice of granting pensions to people under the regulated age of 67 years will soon be discontinued.

Commissioner László Andor said in turn that this practice exists in all member states to a lesser or greater extent and called on governments to eliminate all exceptions and apply the decision of the European Commission.

The meeting of the Ministers for Employment continued in the afternoon with a session at which they discussed how to combat undeclared work in the European Union.


Tags: PoliticsMinisters for EmloymentEuropeUnemploymentEarly retirementEU Commissioner Laszlo AndorYiannis Vroutsis
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