The European Union is moving further and further away from the social targets of the Europe 2020' strategy , ie a 75% employment rate and a 25% reduction of poverty. Thus concludes the report on Employment and social developments in Europe 2012' (ESDE), published by the European Commission on 8 January. Its 500-odd pages show that unemployment is reaching new peaks, that household income is declining and that the risk of poverty or exclusion is on the rise.
"2012 was another very bad year for Europe in terms of unemployment and the deteriorating social situation," commented the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor. "Moreover, it is unlikely that Europe will see much socio-economic improvement in 2013 unless it achieves greater progress also on credibly resolving the euro crisis, finding resources for much needed investment, including in people's skills, employability and social inclusion, and making finance work for the real economy," he added. The commissioner once again voiced support for the idea of a European unemployment insurance system and hinted that a public consultation would be launched soon.
The European Union has been seriously hit by five years of economic crisis and the return of a recession in 2012. The figures for 2011 show that it has moved further from its key objectives: between 2010 and 2011, the shortfall on meeting the 2020 employment target widened in 11 member states and remained stable in two. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of persons experiencing poverty rose by six million in spite of member states' commitment to bring 20 million people out of poverty by 2020.
Over the years, Europe has become bogged down in the crisis, which is particularly affecting young adults, unemployed women and lone mothers. The absence of recovery has caused household income to shrink and heightened the risk of long-term exclusion.
This trend is particularly alarming in member states in Southern and Eastern Europe, where...