L’Europe en quête d’emplois

BERLIN – Lorsque l’Union européenne a tenu son premier sommet sur la croissance et les emplois en 1997, le chômage s’établissait à 11  % pour toute l’Europe. Lors d’un autre sommet qui se déroulait l’automne dernier, peu de choses semblent avoir changé. Le chômage dans la zone euro est passé du creux de 6,8 % au premier trimestre 2008 au niveau actuel de 11,5 %.

Pour que l’Union européenne remplisse ses promesses de paix et de prospérité, il faut trouver des façons de créer des débouchés d’emploi pour un plus grand nombre de ses citoyens. Le chômage chez les jeunes est particulièrement préoccupant, même dans les pays dont le bilan statistique est plutôt positif ; dans des pays dont les conditions du marché de l’emploi sont pires, il représente une source potentielle d’instabilité sociale et politique.

La participation au marché de l’emploi est liée non seulement au niveau de revenu, mais aussi à l’estime de soi, à l’intégration et à la situation sociales. Le fait d’être évincé du marché de l’emploi augmente les risques de tomber dans les affres de la pauvreté et de souffrir de problèmes de santé. Et plus le chômage persiste, plus les effets en sont dommageables. Les jeunes gens qui n’ont pas d’emploi ont moins de possibilités plus tard dans leur vie – et constitue un gaspillage de ressources déployées en matière de formations et de compétences qui a des conséquences néfastes sur les économies nationales.

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