The World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned that a lost generation of jobless youth in the eurozone could tear Europe apart if policymakers fail to address the chronic levels of unemployment. The warning came on Friday, as the WEF presented its outlook on the global agenda for 2014.
“There is a growing consensus on the fact that unless we address chronic joblessness we will see an escalation in social unrest,” said S.D. Shibulal, chief executive of Infosys and a contributor to the report.In addition, the WEF warned that failure to tackle the youth unemployment crisis could lead to a rise in crime rate, wreck economic recovery and worsen Europe’s social situation. The report called on governments to provide their youths with the skills and training needed to handle the evolving labor market demands. The European youth have been the hardest hit during the recession, as the jobless rate for those aged under 25 stands at 24.4 percent in the eurozone. In the crisis-hit countries, the youth jobless figures are even worse, with over 62 percent of unemployed Greek youths. In Spain, the figure stands at over 56 percent. On November 12, European leaders pledged to reverse the rising unemployment for young people in the European Union (EU) over the next two years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the youth joblessness as “perhaps the most pressing problem facing Europe.” Europe is struggling with an economic crisis that erupted in early 2008, leaving millions unemployed and in financial distress. The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered massive protests in many European countries. CAH/AB/SS