Jobless rate casts shadow on Thorning-Schmidt's 'Europe at work'
By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Tuesday 03 July 2012
The rising jobless rate is damning data as the ‘Europe at work’ Danish Presidency bows out. Danish Social Democrat Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt had made job creation a central priority of her country’s Presidency. Figures, released on 2 July by Eurostat, show that in May 2012 around half a million more men and women in the EU27 were unemployed than in January, when Copenhagen took over at the EU’s helm and one million more than in December 2011.
Thorning-Schmidt’s statement that “the storm has not passed yet” is indeed an understatement and the 24.868 million unemployed men and women in the EU27 will have a hard time seeing the Danish Presidency as a successful one. In this respect, Soren Sondergaard (GUE-NGL, Denmark) described the absence of an unemployment reduction target in the European Council’s 'compact for growth and jobs' as “not acceptable”.
The three largest groups in Parliament were broadly positive concerning the Danish Presidency’s six-month stint at the EU’s helm. Amongst the achievements, the EPP and S&D groups mentioned, in particular, the agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive. Both Socialist leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) and Greens-EFA Co-Chair Daniel Cohn-Bendit (France) said nevertheless that they would have preferred a greater step.
The Danish premier claimed amongst the successes of her Presidency the agreements on several regulations: roaming, European system of standardisation and venture capital and social entrepreneurship.
The row over the modification of the legal basis of the Schengen evaluation mechanism was most prominently criticised by Cohn-Bendit. “If we renationalise the opening and closing of borders, this signals the end of communitarian Europe,” he said, casting the blame on the member states' interior ministers.