Social situation in Europe worsening:
Left asks for poverty-preventing minimum income schemes and minimum wages
Commenting on today's latest report from the European Commission on the social situation in the EU in 2012, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: "The social situation in the EU is deteriorating further. We need EU-wide minimum income schemes and minimum wages to protect people from poverty. Leaders need to urgently change their approach."
The report shows that minimum wages help both increase the employment rate and reduce the gender pay gap.
"Critics need to take note of the minimum wage's importance," continues Zimmer. "Across Europe more and more people are slipping into poverty, and the social and health sector must be saved. We are heading towards a dangerous social situation."
Zimmer adds: "But increasing the employment rate alone is not enough. Only decent work prevents poverty. The Commission needs to understand this relationship."
The Employment and Social Developments in Europe in 2012 report shows that the financial, economic and debt crisis continues to have a strong impact on the employment and social situation in Europe. Gross disposable income has declined in the majority of EU countries since 2009, wheras the risk of poverty and social exclusion has increased.
Within the euro zone, unemployment figures in northern and southern European countries differ by 7.5%. In 2007 such a gap did not exist. At the same time, Eurostat reports a record high European unemployment rate of 11.8% for November 2012.