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The lowest rate for unemployment was in the Czech Republic, where the rate has decreased to 1.1% since 2016.
The lowest rate for unemployment was in the Czech Republic, where the rate has decreased to 1.1% since 2016.

World Bank Warns of Low-Growth Traps in EU

Persistent inequalities at the regional level, undermines opportunities for residents, contributing to higher poverty and large-scale emigration, particularly of young people

World Bank Warns of Low-Growth Traps in EU

A new report from the World Bank, Rethinking Lagging Regions, which examines convergence and disparity within the EU, has highlighted the danger of low-growth traps. According to the report, the EU’s poorest regions—almost all of which are in emerging Europe—have a GDP per capita that is seven times lower than in the richest areas.
Persistent inequalities at the regional level, undermines opportunities for residents, contributing to higher poverty and large-scale emigration, particularly of young people. For example, some regions in southern Europe experienced zero growth in GDP per capita compared to the EU average of 2.1% annually between 2005 and 2015, Emerging Europe reported.
“All regions in the EU—even the poorest or slow-growing—have significant potential for economic development,” says Arup Banerji, EU regional director at the World Bank. “But there’s room for improvement. There is so much attention on the national economic performance of member states that it’s easy to forget what’s happening at the regional level within the EU.
"When we look under the surface, there are many ways to challenge the inequalities in wealth, opportunity and productivity that prevent social mobility and act as drags on national growth.”
The report discusses two categories of lagging regions—known as ‘low growth’ and ‘low income’—in parts of southern and central Europe respectively. Low growth lagging regions are experiencing stagnant productivity and little job creation, while low income regions face increasing challenges to transform their economies.
Both sets of underperforming regions struggle on two key indicators, notably high rates of unemployment relative to non-lagging regions and very low levels of female involvement in the labor force. The average rate of female participation in the EU was 66.8% in 2015. In lagging regions, the rate was 10% lower and up to 20% lower in the worst cases.

Rebalancing Cohesion Policy
Rethinking Lagging Regions highlights the important role that EU’s Cohesion Policy plays in addressing regional inequalities. Today, the EU invests €50 billion ($59.7 billion) annually through cohesion funds to support development in European regions.
The report recommends rebalancing the Cohesion Policy priorities to better exploit the potential of lagging regions by focusing on five key areas:
1) addressing macro-fiscal weaknesses
2) improving the business environment for firms
3) leveraging the productivity of cities
4) building skills within communities
5) strengthening the quality of institutions.
Maximizing the impact of Cohesion Policy within this new policy environment will require investments in skilling and improving the business environment—which remain critical to raising productivity.
This means adapting to the technological changes of the 21st century as traditional manual jobs decline, says report author Thomas Farole, lead economist at the World Bank. “Strengthening regional and national institutions will also be key to a more effective Cohesion Policy, by guiding it’s targeting, prioritization, and delivery in the next program cycle.”
It will be critical for policymakers at all levels to reconsider how Cohesion Policy can be effectively prioritized, targeted, and delivered in the next program cycle beginning in 2021 to maximize the impact on lagging regions.

Unemployment Falls
In new data from European statistic office Eurostat, it has been revealed that many Central Eastern Europe regions saw low levels of unemployment in 2017, with Poland having one of the lowest rates, just behind the western European economies of the United Kingdom and Germany. This news comes after the World Bank raised its growth forecasts for the Polish economy last month.
Eurostat claimed that of the 275 regions assessed across Europe, 56 had an unemployment rate of 3.8% or less—half the EU average—including 21 regions in Germany, 13 in Britain, seven in the Czech Republic, three in Hungary and Austria, two in Poland and Romania, and one in Bulgaria.
The lowest rate for unemployment was in the Czech Republic, where the rate has decreased to 1.1% since 2016. One of the lowest long-term unemployment rates was recorded in Bucharest and the surrounding region of Ilfov in Romania, where it is 13.8%.
Eurostat also revealed that unemployment rates in the European Union fell to a new 10-year low (7.1%) in February 2018, whilst unemployment in the eurozone hit 8.5%, the lowest since 2008.
Equally, general unemployment rates differ significantly across all regions: from 1.7% (Prague, Czech Republic) to 29.1% (Dytiki Makedonia, Greece).

 

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