Greece Jobless Rate Tops EU Again

Bad news for Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ “success story” – unemployment in Greece stood at 27.3 percent in August, the highest rate in the European Union, according to statistics released Nov. 29 by the European Commission’s statistics service Eurostat, with more than 1.365 million now without a job and virtually no prospects of finding one.

It’s even worse for those under 25, with 58 percent unemployed, not counting those who’ve long given up during an enduring six-year recession and have fled for other countries in search of work and a new life

After Greece the highest jobless rate was in Spain, with 26.7 percent followed by Hungary with 17.6 percent and Cyprus with 17 percent while Austria, Germany and Luxembourg had the best record in this area with 4.8 percent, 5.2 percent and 5.9 percent unemployment rates respectively.

The new figures came as the overall rate of unemployment in the Eurozone dropped to 12.1 percent in October from a record 12.2 percent the previous month, essentially still stuck where it was.

Austerity measures imposed by successive governments have also put 20 percent of Greeks into poverty while the joblessness problem continues to foil Samaras’s hopes of starting an economic recovery next year. Earlier this year he promised a program to put 75,000 young back to work in January but hasn’t said a word about it since.

While it can’t solve the problem of youth unemployment in Greece, the government said it would try to tackle soaring youth unemployment in the European Union when it takes over the symbolic, but powerless, rotating presidency of the block, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said.

Schulz said after talks with Samaras that Greece would be “well-prepared” to assume the presidency, which he called a “good opportunity to prove that there are no different categories in the EU and that all member states have equal rights.”

Greece has been especially hard hit by Europe‘s economic and debt crisis, but Samaras said the problems would make the union “stronger, just as its founders envisioned.”

“Europe is not an untenable dream,” he said. “It is the path that will lead us out of the crisis. It is our shared destiny, which we must achieve by putting emphasis on the things that unite us.” He didn’t offer any details.