More than half of all new jobs created in the European Union are currently created in the UK. Our house in London is bulging happily from time to time, with friends to the family coming to London to look for a new job. Be that one friend working as a shop assistant, someone au-paring, the boyfriend who is starting a small business or the other friend looking for job as a finance analyst-this city state seems to be conducive for entrepreneurship, job-creation and dynamism. Hurray! Elsewhere in Europe, however, the situation is dark indeed.
The cradle of Europe-Greece, Spain, Italy, France- is seeing unemployment figures for young people hovering around the 50% mark. One out of two, without a job… for me, as a mother of four, this is a tragedy.
With no work, it is near impossible to enter the housing market or start a family. Life stalls. For parents this worry must be intolerable. For me as a citizen, this wider implications are unfathomable.
The entire social web of society breaks down. Human lives are wasted. A generation lost. Future growth, the mechanics of the pension, financing of health care systems, all of society as we know it will fall if this problem is not fixed.
So why are politicians doing so little?
Overall, there is a lack of understanding of the central role of small and medium sized businesses as job engines in most European countries.
But for Greece and Spain the straight jacket of the euro, means the countries cannot devalue the currencies to counteract the tough budget saving policies implemented to comply with Eurozone regulations, which stalls domestic demand and spending power. There seems to be no way out of the dilemma for ordinary people, whereas the established political order is fighting not to get eggs on their faces.
So people turn away from the old guard, to extremist and never heard-of-before political parties, who promise quick fixes.
In Greece extreme leftwing Syriza, in Spain Pademos, both promising to increase governmental spending, as if you can spend what you do not have nor decide over entirely on your own. In other countries extreme right parties are promising to kick out all immigrants, in an attempt to put the blame on vulnerable newcomers rather than where it belongs. And where is that? On sclerotic political systems, which impede growth, and the eurozone straight jacket.
Are we seeing a revival of the 1930’s?