Med countries all suffer high unemployment

2017 CNR report on area economies presented in Rome

15 March, 11:17

    Egyptian excavation workers labor outside a tomb on the  Giza platea Egyptian excavation workers labor outside a tomb on the Giza platea

    ROME - The labor market for youths and women is homogenous across the Mediterranean area with high levels of unemployment, though for different reasons.
    In countries on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, unemployment is due to market friction and stagnant economies, while on the southern ones - where economies have grown n recent years despite crises - it is due to demographic trends. Thid is the main focus of the 13th report on Mediterranean economies by the Italian national research center CNR's Istituto di Studi sulle Società del Mediterraneo, presented in Rome during a conference entitled ''The Mediterranean Area Amid Unemployment, Emigration and New Opportunities for Economic Development''. The document was curated by Eugenia Ferragina, who died tragically on the eve of the presentation. All the participants stressed her qualities as a researcher and as a person.

    The report analyzes important phenomenon across the Mediterranean basin: the lasting economic crisis, deep demographic transformations, high youth unemployment, the 'brain drain', emigration from countries in southern Europe and a high level of migration inflows. The report said that the high youth unemployment is especially serious in Mediterranean countries, where the rate among those between age 15 and 25 is very high. In 2015, four countries of the region had youth unemployment over 45%: Bosnia-Herzegovina (66.9%), Libya (50%), Spain (49.4%) and Greece (49.2%).

    ''In all Mediterranean countries, youths still have greater difficulty to get access to the labor market,'' underscored Salvatore Capasso, director of the Istituto di Studi sulle Società del Mediterraneo (CNR-ISSM), in presenting the report. ''There are different reasons but the problems are seen everywhere'' in the region, he added, stressing that for the future, there is a need for ''three key things: water, food and energy security'', which are ''the gateway for less unequal sustainable and robust development involving the most fragile sectors, of the young and women''. Integration of area countries ''is important, and for Algeria it is a priority'', said Algerian ambassador to Italy Abdelhamid Senouci Bereksi, and the energy sector ''could be the driving force''. Moroccan ambassador to Italy Hassan Abouyoub said that, in the Mediterranean, it is clear that there has been a ''failure of shared development models''. It is necessary ''to continue neighborhood policies to build an integrated economy'', underscored Spanish Consul General Senén Florensa i Palau.

    In the Mediterranean, ''multilateralism is an obligation and not a choice, since all the issues are cross-border ones,'' said Enrico Granara, coordinator for multilateral affairs in the Euro-Mediterranean area of the Italian foreign ministry. In Europe, on the theme there is a lack of ''large policies, with the means, action units and ideas'' needed, said former PM Romano Prodi and now head of the Fondazione per la Collaborazione fra i Popoli. ''I have suggested joint universities between the southern and northern shores, a Mediterranean bank, and especially wide-ranging policies like what we did with the east. No country from the southern shore will be an EU member, but close and strong political relations must be brought in,'' he added. Other initiatives ''are useful but unfortunately today the Mediterranean is a sea that separates us and does not unite us'', he said. (

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