An increasing number of Southern Europeans are leaving their recession-ridden countries in search of work and opportunities in the North, especially in Germany, raising fears that these countries’ problems will be compounded by a brain drain should their economies not improve. Between 2009 and 2011, outflows of people from countries most affected by the crisis, in particular in Southern Europe, rose by 45 percent, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And Germany, with its low rates of overall and youth unemployment—5.3 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively—is a prime destination for this new migration [...]
In May 2010, while the rest of the Western world was busy picking up the pieces from the combined banking and real estate crises, a fiscal crisis hit Greece. The Greek government discovered it was unable to service the country’s soaring public debt, which stood at 129 percent of GDP in 2009. That year, Greece’s budget deficit was 15.6 percent of GDP, while its current account deficit was 15 percent of GDP. Soon the state coffers would be depleted, leaving the 20 percent of the country’s labor force that works in the public sector without compensation and numerous state-owned enterprises, [...]
A rather small country by its size and population—65 million, less than 1 percent of total global population—France is nevertheless one of five to 10 countries that can claim to be major powers in today’s world. The French economy is, however, plagued with sluggish growth, an unemployment level now hovering around 10 percent of the active population, a budget that has been in deficit for more than three decades and a public debt that represents more than 90 percent of its GDP—with more than 60 percent of that debt held by nonresidents, as opposed to about 30 percent for the [...]
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