Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

The map of Europe which shows the levels of unemployment in the European Union countries is worth the look.

Let’s first exclude, however, two dark islands – Spain and Greece. These countries depart significantly from the average (already quite high) unemployment rate in the EU.

A number of conclusions which break down a stereotype over unemployment deserve to be emphasised here. Firstly, there is no connection between eurozone adhesion and unemployment rate. There is, furthermore, no relation between the “old” and “new” Union division and level of unemployment whatsoever. When we look at the line of high unemployment which starts in Latvia and finishes in Portugal or in Ireland, we can see that the situation on the job market does not necessarily depend on issues related to the eurozone adhesion.

Germany and Austria are two countries which witness relatively lower levels of unemployment. We can, however, also observe a longer line marking lower unemployment which starts in Great Britain and finishes (surprisingly!) in Romania.

I would like to spare a few word on four countries of the “new” Union where the statistics are quite favourable – Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania. Estonia was the first to start a fight against crisis. Making use of its location and economic bonds with Finland and Sweden, the country managed to push the economy into a relatively good state. Similar reasons made Czech and Slovenian’s economy doing quite well. Romania’s result is sensational. I believe its low unemployment rate is due to the fact that the country is still quite poor and the sate remains to be a big employer itself.

Making plans for combating unemployment in Poland, with those 2, 3 million unemployed citizens in mind, we shall remember that it is not the miraculous, single system that could be in force in all European countries but a well ordered internal economic policy that matters the most. Poland has a big internal market whose capabilities might trigger significant changes on the job markets. What might boost our economy is the trade cooperation with the East, especially with the Russian Federation. This potential has not been fully developed yet. Finally, there is a need to introduce a radical change in the use of the European money to boost entrepreneurship. Where apparently trivial, these are quite fundamental issues, which will be promoted by Europe Plus with regard to the job market in Poland and in Europe.

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