EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Counting Costs Of Recession In EU

  • December 14th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-symbol-coins.jpgNearly 25% of EU citizens are poor or cash strapped, or hard-hit by unemployment, and migrant workers are finding it much harder to send money home – in statistics released this week (13.12.10).


Unfortunate times for seven million of the 500 million population of the 27 countries of the European Union, where a new survey has identified large numbers struggling against poverty, “materially deprived” so they struggle meeting basic bills, or hit by unemployment.

The Eurostat study shows that 116 million people, almost a quarter of the EU population, were affected by at least one of the three forms of social exclusion.

The Eastern European and Balkan regions were most adversely placed; Bulgaria (with 45% of the population affected in some way), Romania  (44%), Latvia (34%) and Poland (31%),

Joblessness however was prominent in the West. On “low work intensity”, 34 million Europeans were living in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past years, led by Ireland (14%), and Hungary, Belgium and Germany (all 12%).

The unfortunate seven million are those who experience all three of the negative conditions identified in the EU survey, based on figures from 2008.

This down-side of life in a wealthy part of the world, by all recognised standards, is most sensitive to events such as the unwinding that occurred with the Global Financial Crisis.


eu-emblems-008.jpgFor Europe’s large population of migrants and expatriates, a key indicator is the amount of money being remitted to the old country, as often as not through shop-front exchange offices — post offices, Western Union and several others.

Money sent by migrants to their country of origin fell by 7% in 2009, with total transfers at €30-billion, says a second Eurostat survey just released (13.12.10).

A trend towards increases year by year, in recent times, was reversed by the financial crisis.


“Total EU27 outflows amounted to €30.3 billion euro in 2009, compared with €32.6 bn in 2008 (-7%).

The outflow of workers’ remittances was highest in 2009 in Spain (€7.1 bn or 22% of total EU27 remittances), Italy (6.8 bn or 21%), Germany (3.0 bn or 9%), France (2.8 bn or 9%) and the Netherlands (1.5 bn or 5%) – the survey reported.


Further details from the survey on the measures of poverty, “material deprivation” and unemployment:

“As regards income poverty, 81 million persons (or 17% of the population) in the EU27 in 2008 were at risk of poverty after social transfers, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold5. Latvia (26%), Romania (23%) and Bulgaria (21%) had the highest at risk-of-poverty rates, and the Czech Republic (9%), the Netherlands and Slovakia (both 11%) the lowest.

“42 million people in the EU27 severely materially deprived

“In the EU27, 42 million (or 8% of the population) were severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home adequately warm, own a car or a telephone etc5. The shares of those materially deprived varied significantly among Member States, with the highest in Bulgaria (41%) and Romania (33%), and the lowest in Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain (all less than 3%).

“34 million people in the EU27 lived in households with low work intensity

“Regarding the indicator on low work intensity, 34 million (or 9% of the population aged 0-59) in the EU27 lived in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year5. Ireland (14%), Hungary, Belgium and Germany (all 12%) had the largest proportions of those living in low work intensity households, and Cyprus (4%), Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia and Sweden (all 5%) the lowest.”


Eurostat, Brussels, “Income and living conditions in Europe In the EU27, 116 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2008”, 13.12.10, STAT/10/190. (Contacts and further information:    Tim Allen, Louise Corselli-Norblad, +352-4301-33 444, [email protected]; further on the data: Pascal Wolff, +352-4301-33 660., (13.12.10).

Eurostat, Brussels, “Workers’ remittances in the EU27 Money sent by migrants to their country of origin fell by 7% in 2009 …”, 13.12.10, STAT/10/191.