Europa braucht Jobs

BERLIN – Als die Europäische Union 1997 ihren ersten Wachstums- und Beschäftigungsgipfel abhielt, betrug die EU-weite Arbeitslosigkeit 11%. Bei ihrem neuerlichen Gipfeltreffen im vergangenen Herbst schien sich nicht viel verändert zu haben. Die Arbeitslosigkeit in der Eurozone betrug 11,5% – gegenüber einem Tiefstwert von 6,8% im ersten Quartal 2008.

Wenn die EU ihr Versprechen von Frieden und Wohlstand halten will, muss sie Wege finden, um Arbeitsplätze für einen größeren Teil ihrer Bürger zu schaffen. Besonderen Anlass zur Sorge bietet dabei die Jugendarbeitslosigkeit, und zwar selbst in Ländern mit ansonsten positiver Beschäftigungsstatistik; in Ländern, wo die Arbeitsmarktlage schlechter ist, stellt sie eine potenzielle Quelle gesellschaftlicher und politischer Instabilität dar.

Eine Erwerbstätigkeit wirkt sich nicht nur auf das Einkommensniveau aus, sondern auch auf Selbstwertgefühl, gesellschaftliche Teilhabe und sozialen Status. Ein Ausschluss vom Arbeitsmarkt erhöht das Armuts- und Krankheitsrisiko, und je länger die Arbeitslosigkeit andauert, desto schädlicher sind ihre Auswirkungen. Junge Arbeitslose haben im späteren Leben weniger Chancen – was eine Verschwendung von Bildung und Fertigkeiten darstellt, die nachteilige Auswirkungen auf die nationalen Volkswirtschaften hat.

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