The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the European economy hard, but not equally across all countries and sectors. The fragmentation could lead to a social crisis, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit warned on Wednesday (20 May), Report informs citing the EURACTIV.
“In February, I had the pleasure to announce the highest level in employment in Europe and the constant fall in unemployment figures,” Schmit said. “Just a few months after, today, Europe is facing a massive increase in unemployment, and there is a risk of fragmentation, not only in our countries but also in our societies.”
The Commissioner warned during the presentation the European Semester Spring Package that certain sectors, companies, and citizens are more affected than others, and there is, therefore, “a risk that this crisis will become a social crisis.”
Schmit underlined that combating unemployment “should be our main priority,” and welcomed the Council’s recent decision to adopt SURE, the instrument the Commission tabled to support financially countries being forced to set up temporary unemployment schemes to keep people in work.
“More than 30 million persons are on temporary or partial unemployment,” the Commissioner said. Without such an instrument, most of those citizens would be unemployed, he added, pointing to the situation in the US where millions of people go jobless every week.