Unemployment has been significantly higher in EU countries than in comparable independent nations since long before the financial crisis, according to a new report.
The analysis by sociologist Michael Burrage for think tank Civitas shows that throughout the past two decades, unemployment levels have always been higher in EU nations than in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Burrage writes: “The EU has not only suffered from a higher rate of unemployment than independent countries, but its unemployment has been especially severe, as measured by the proportion unemployed for a year or more, especially among young people.”
About 29.9 per cent of young unemployed people in EU member states remained out of work for more than one year, compared to just 10.4 per cent in independent states.
“They have been, in other words, about three times more likely to be scarred by this experience.”
The figures show that high unemployment is a persistent problem in the EU, and was not just caused by the recent financial crisis.
European states outside of the EU do not share this problem. In 18 of the 21 years covered by the report, unemployment in Switzerland, Iceland and Norway was on average less than half that of their neighbours within the EU.
The findings suggest that even if the EU experienced an economic boom it would still not eliminate the bloc’s unemployment problem.
UKIP employment spokesman Jane Collins called the report a “damning indictment of the failure of decades of overregulation by the EU.”
“Unemployment is reduced not by health and safety regulations or expensive compliance rules but by people starting up and expanding businesses and taking on employees,” she said.
“For that to happen they need to know they have flexible employment laws, open markets and solid economies with steady demand.
“In contrast to this, the EU enforces rules making it expensive for SMEs to take on staff and environmental legislation that pushes up the costs of production.
“As we start the campaign for Britain to leave the EU and regain its place on the world stage these statistics are vital for quashing the idea that we need political union for jobs.”