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Social Justice Ireland's Submision to the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Commitee on January 17, 2014

The employment and social situation in the EU remained critical in the fourth quarter of 2012 with employment receding overall and unemployment rising further, while households' financial situation remained serious according to the European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review. The adverse effects of public budget cuts and tax increases on employment and living standards are increasingly apparent in certain Member States.

An Oireachtas Committee report published February 19, 2013 recommends that Government consider the proposal to create a Part-Time Job Opportunities programme advocated by Social Justice Ireland.

A new Caritas Europa study, reveals disturbing levels of poverty and deprivation in the five EU countries worst hit by the economic crisis; Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.  It also finds that the prioritisation by the EU and its Member States of economic policies at the expense of social policies during the current crisis is having a devastating impact on people - especially in the five countrie

Ireland's unemployment level is the fourth highest in the European Union according to the latest statistics published by Eurostat (January 8, 2013).  The unemployment rate in the EU is now 10.7% (up from 10.0% a year ago). In the Euro area unemployment is higher at 11.8% (up from 10.6% a year ago). It is clear that austerity is not working.  An alternative approach is required.

Among the EU Member States in 2011, underemployed part-time work was highest in Ireland (6.3 % of the labour force) according to the latest EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review. The Review also shows that Ireland’s youth unemployment rate is among the highest in the EU (over 30%). 

Unemployment continues to rise across the EU as detailed in the latest figures from Eurostat. The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9% in March 2012, compared with 9.9% in March 2011. 

Unemployment continues its steady rise in the EU.  Ireland's unemployent rate is the fourth worst of the 27 EU countries with only Spain, Greece and Portugal with higher levels.

The Irish Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs - 2012‘ contains more than 270 actions, identifies the Government Departments and agencies responsible for implementing each of these, and sets out timelines for delivery. It hopes to “create the environment where the number of people at work will increase by 100,000- from 1.8 million to 1.9 million – by 2016, and reach 2 million people by 2020”. In practice this means replacing every job that is lost in that period an