Eurozone unemployment hits record high, while Mario Monti sees 'light at the end of tunnel'
Unemployment across the recession-hit eurozone hit 11.2pc in June.
10:48AM BST 31 Jul 2012
EU data agency Eurostat said the seasonally-adjusted rate was the same as an
upwardly-revised May toll but noted another 123,000 people lost their jobs
going into the European summer, bringing the total to nearly 18m, more than
2m up on a year earlier.
Marking a 14th successive monthly rise, analysts noted a cumulative rise of
2.248m people since that series began in April last year, with London-based
Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight warning that the unemployment rate "now
looks odds-on" to cross 11.5pc by the end of the year, with "a
very real danger" of reaching 12pc next year.
In Germany, the Federal Labour Agency said raw or unadjusted unemployment also
rose sharply in July, with the total number of people out of work up by
66,800 on June at 2.88m.
Eurostat estimates that 25m men and women are unemployed across the full
27-state EU. Youth unemployment hit 22.6pc.
The figures appear to go against Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's belief
that there is light at the end of the tunnel of the eurozone debt crisis.
"Decidedly yes," he said in answer to a question on Italian state
radio RAI. "It is a tunnel but ... some light is appearing at the end
of the tunnel. We and the rest of Europe are approaching the end of the
He added that decisions taken at last month's EU summit were starting to bear
"We are now seeing results both in the willingness of European
institutions as well as from the governments of individual countries,
including Germany," he said.
Monti, who on Tuesday will leave for a trip to France, Finland and Spain, said
he hoped his meeting with French President Francois Hollande would
accelerate moves to strengthen the euro and spur growth.
Markets are watching all comments by European leaders closely for any signs -
so far lacking - that Monti and others have convinced Germany of the need
for stronger immediate action.
That would open the door for the European Central Bank to announce bold moves
later this week, making good on president Mario Draghi's promise to do "whatever
it takes" to rescue the euro.
"We want to give a sense of the solid and strong work carried out
together, work being done with Germany, which is an essential point of
reference," he said.
"Both Hollande and I have recently had contact with Chancellor [Angela]
Merkel. We have a way of working together which does not exclude anyone. The
breakthrough will be to push everyone to enact the decisions made in
Brussels at the end of June without delay and without turning back," he
Monti said he would try to convince the Finns, who are sceptical about the
commitment to austerity in southern Europe's debt-loaded nations, to
recognise Italy's progress in economic reforms.
"It is very important that all of us in Europe, regardless of latitudes,
see to it that the euro, which is the pinnacle of the cathedral of the
construction of Europe, does not become a cause of disintegration," he
"We all have to make a effort to overcome reciprocal prejudices, to look
each other straight in the eye and look at the statistics. Finland has made
extraordinary progress in its economy in recent years and I hope the Finns
recognise what Italy has done in these years and these months," he
He also said he was confident that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would
be able to tackle the country's problems.
Meanwhile, Mr Draghi has been asked to justify his membership of an elite
international financial forum by the EU after transparency campaigners
claimed a conflict of interest, the bloc's watchdog said.
He stands accused of breaching European Union statutes governing
"impartiality, independence and objectivity".
The complaint was brought by anti-lobbying NGO Corporate Europe Observatory
and a probe was opened on July 24, the EU Ombudsman's office said on its
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