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Latest figures released by the German statistics service show that in 2011 the population increased for the first time since 2002. Migration from southern Europe belied the forecast of gradual decline; although the inflow from the East went up as restrictions on immigration from ‘new’ Member States ran out, increases of 90% and 52% in Greek and Spanish immigration were the most prominent. While unemployment in Spain has reached 25% German companies are awash with vacancies. In the prosperous state of Baden-Würtemmberg the rate is just 4% and firms are plucking Spanish, Greek and Portuguese professionals from the Internet or paying for them to fly in for interviews. The southern Member States fear a brain drain if their economic slump lasts much longer and bemoan the costs of training, €60,000 for a Spanish engineer, which will be lost if they don’t return home.
The last complete month of figures from
Eurostat, December 2011, records rapid rises in unemployment in Greece
(up 50% in a year), Spain and Cyprus. Young people were even worse off
with over half those under 25 jobless in the first two countries. 8.6
million people were under-employed last year and 8.5 million had
stopped looking for work. A recent report from the International Labour
Organisation (ILO) warns that an extended period at such levels risks
social unrest whose likelihood has increased in 11 Member States. With
present policies in place the ILO does not predict a recovery until
2016 with most new jobs being temporary and precarious.