Eurozone unemployment rate at record high
The unemployment rate in the Eurozone reached a new record in February, and the unemployment now exceeds 19 million people in the seventeen countries of the monetary union, according to the European statistical office Eurostat.
Across the EU, the unemployment rate was 10.9% in February, up from the previous month (10.8%). The rise in unemployment is spectacular in both zones compared to the previous year: in February 2012, the unemployment rate was 10.9% in the Eurozone and 10.2% in the entire EU.
Greece has still the highest unemployment rate in the Eurozone, to 26.4% (according to the latest data from December), but Spain is on track to catch up with 26.3%. This is in Austria (4.8%), Germany (5.4%) and Luxembourg (5.5%) unemployment rates are the lowest in the euro area.
The Eurozone economy is currently in recession, unemployment, debt crisis (high deficits and rising debt level), and the euro crisis. Many governments are cutting spending and raising taxes to fight against the problem, but these policies are very unpopular, even more with this unemployment rate. The Eurozone knows an economic crisis but also a social crisis. And it seems difficult for the countries to find a collective solution.
Failed talks between Serbia and Kosovo
Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic met Tuesday in Brussels under the auspices of the European Union. The objective is to reach an agreement to normalize their relations, including finding a lasting solution for northern Kosovo. The area is populated mainly by Serbs who demand greater autonomy. Kosovars fear that such autonomy would lead to an annexation of the region by Serbia. After more than twelve hours of negotiations in Brussels, the two Prime Ministers failed to reach an agreement on the normalization of their relations despite pressure from the European Union.
The desire to continue discussions next week, however real and share other but Catherine Ashton, the head of European diplomacy, however, indicated that no further meeting was held in Brussels. “A number of proposals have been put on the table. The gap between the two parties is very narrow, but deep. The two delegations “will return to their capital and seek (…) then let me know their positions in the coming days.”
To encourage the two enemies to cooperate, Brussels uses the ‘carrot policy’. In case of agreement, Belgrade obtains the opening of accession negotiations in the European Union in June. For Kosovo, an agreement will be one step closer to the European Union.
That shows the great influence of the EU on these countries and the wish of peace in Europe. But one of the problems is also that Kosovo is not recognized by all the EU members, especially those who are afraid of separatist regions, like Spain. This is the paradox of the EU foreign policy: strong but controversial.