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Where's the "good news"?

It might be good news if the Centre for European Reform managed to swear off endlessly recycling neoliberal clichés like small, nimble newcomer, raise their game, cope with competition, the gap in living standards with the US, flexible labour markets, entrepreneurship, and refrain from the usual ideological framing such as:

  • The upturn was partly cyclical (perhaps, but why is this never said of the Anglo-Saxon economies?)
  • it was also the result of the reforms to product and labour markets (evidence for this? what reforms? Germany reducing wages to gain a competitive edge would be an example?)
  • (NL) the only EU country that combines high employment with high productivity (high employment thanks to a much higher rate of part-time work than any other EU country)
  • The EU needs to find a compromise on `unbundling' quickly, and move on to building a low-carbon economy (liberalising energy markets will encourage short-term-profit investment in gas and coal, the antithesis of the second aim set out)
  • In many EU countries, one in five youngsters is looking for a job (a standard propaganda lie - France has a 15-24 unemployment rate around 20% while the UK has half of that, yet there are roughly the same numbers of jobseekers for a similar population in each country; see 1 here and 2 here and 3 here for explanations of this and other deliberately-maintained misconceptions about labour statistics)
  • narrow focus on the overall level of research and development spending (attempt to demonise public investment in research).

You might be right, though, that the scorecard could help us see where our own respective governments are headed. With a hope it's not where CER wants to take us... :-)  
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 01:24:09 PM EST
Ever the optimist, I thought this was good news:
Lisbon has made an indirect but noticeable contribution to Europe's recovery, notably in the employment sector which they said has always been regarded as the continent's weak spot. According to CER, the EU economies created an estimated 7 to 8 million jobs in 2006-2007 alone. Huge improvements were registerd among older workers and women.
by The3rdColumn on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 03:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is, but what indicates that the Lisbon Agenda (which, honestly, has not exactly been applied with any consistency and relish across the EU board) is responsible for this rise in employment?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 04:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've read in their report, they are not exactly taking credit for the creation of those jobs. But were content to declare that Lisbon has initiated a useful process of comparing and contrasting among countries, so they can learn from each other what works and what does not.

I have just finished reading the report and still have to dissect its contents. I cannot at this time make a critical analysis of what the CER has so far advanced in that report.

by The3rdColumn on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 04:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'll just point you, in the chapter on employment, to p.50 (pdf)/p.85 (printed), where youth employment gets the header One in five youngsters is unemployed, below which can be read:

In France, Italy, Sweden, and some of the new member-states, more than one in five young people is looking for a job.

That plain statement, which can only be understood to mean that 1 in 5 of the 15-24 age-group is looking for a job, is (on the part of people who know what the stats mean) deliberately misleading. It refers to an unemployment rate of over 20%. That is not 20% of all people in that age group, it is 20% of the labour force, ie those who are (in employment + jobseekers). This is an age group where large numbers are in education, and where, according to national cultural differences, it may be more or less customary for students to have part-time jobs on the side. The size of the labour force (and therefore the unemployment rate) depends on this difference. Baldly stating that more than one in five youngsters is looking for a job (when in France, for example, it's actually less than one in ten), is simply setting out to blacken the picture the better to promote an ideological agenda.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 05:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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