The economic crisis and its social impact are a big concern for the majority of people in the EU, according to a survey published on 20 December by Eurobarometer.
The percentage of Europeans who say that the situation of their national economy is rather bad or very bad, exceeds two-thirds for the ninth consecutive time, according to the survey results. Unemployment, the fact that the economic crisis has not improved, and rising prices are among the biggest worries.
In Greece and Spain, a whopping 95 percent of people surveyed regard the state of their national economies as “bad”. The unemployment level in both countries, especially among the youth in Spain, has caused the media to talk of a ‘lost generation’.
The youths who find work tend to find part time jobs only while others are leaving the country to find opportunities in countries that offer more opportunities.
More than six out of 10 Europeans believe that “the worst is still to come” when it comes to the impact of the economic crisis on the job market. This is a view held by the majority of people in Belgium (78%), Greece (78%), and Portugal (79%). In Cyprus, where the national finances are in dire straits, almost 90 percent of the population thinks that the situation can get worse.
Citizens in 18 EU member states rank unemployment as their number one greatest worry.
The fear of government debt came out on top only in Germany. Immigration figured among the top three concerns only in the United Kingdom. Most Europeans do not believe their national economy will improve soon.
A large majority of Europeans think the financial and employment situation for next 12 months will remain the same and almost a quarter believe their personnel finances will diminish.
It is not a good state of affairs to end the year with. However, the global economy needs a re-balancing exercise that, unfortunately, will mean that people in Asia will get richer and people in the West will get ‘poorer’.
Asia has been the production hot house for the West for a long time and this has resulted in those economies getting richer on the profits of trade with the West. This is part of a normal economic cycle and once the economies are more balanced, work will inevitably return to the West again.
You can already see this happening in the textile industry, where companies from the seventies onwards moved to cheaper countries, but production is now returning as retailers require shorter lead times with smaller, more exclusive production runs. As production in Asia takes too long and transport costs keep rising, this trend will only increase in importance. Manchester, once the textile capital of the UK, is now seeing a surge in the demand for seamstresses, something no one could have predicted only a few years ago.