Labour market and social situation for many European citizens is deteriorating. These are the results of European Commission review, published in the Quarterly EU Employment and Social Situation Review at overall EU level. The gap between the South and the North is increasing. Unemployment hits mostly the countries that received bailout aid, with more and more young people willing to go abroad to find a work: among the ages 15-35: 64% of the Greeks, 67% of the Spanish and the Irish and 57% of the Portuguese.
There has been a sharp rise over early 2012 in the share of households having to draw on their savings or to go into debt to keep up current expenses. This increase in financial distress especially affects people living on low and middle income, for whom the situation is deteriorating. Especially notable are the increases in poorer households in Italy and Spain, where the rates of financial distress have risen from 16 % to 26 % and from 23 % to 33 % respectively over the year to April.
Living conditions are deteriorating significantly in a number of Member States. Between 2008 and 2010, the share of people unable to pay their utility bills increased on average by 1 percentage point to 9% on average in the EU and by more than 3 percentage points in 10 countries. Several countries experienced marked increases in the number of people unable to afford a meal with meat (or equivalent proteins) every second day. Women tend to face higher deprivation rates than men, according to the quarterly survey. Homelessness has also grown across the EU as many people have experienced unemployment or substantial falls in income. Young people and foreign nationals have been disproportionately affected.
The Review describes with the most grim figures the issue of homesless in Greece.
“In 2011, homeless were increased at 25% in comparison to 2009, their number is 20,000 people. More than half of them (11,000 people) are located in Athens and Piraeus. 8,000 are Greeks. The social phenomenon has spread also to cities like Chania, IRakleio (Crete) and Trikala.”
The review underlines also that 68% of the population in Greece lives below the poverty threshold ( that is, it has income below the 60% of the average national income) and spends more than 40% of their income for renting a home or to repay mortgage.
The full Review can be read here.