Address at the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth

We have to create convergence conditions in the labour market so that there are no differences among Member States"

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth made the following statement:

I would like to start by saying that Greece is a special case. We have to remember that in the EU, there are different cases; different circumstances and all have to be taken into account. We cannot have one solution to all the problems.

As far as unemployment is concerned, it should be clear. Our strategy under the Stability Pact was to observe the convergence criteria that should apply to everyone in the same way. The same criteria concerning debt, deficits etc. However, in the past, there was no set of criteria for social issues, particularly unemployment in a country. During the crisis, unemployment rates were particularly high in Greece, and before the crisis we had lower unemployment rates than Germany but during and after the crisis we had more unemployment. I am sure that the same phenomenon was observed in other European countries.

Unemployment has been reduced but unemployment among young people is still high, as is the number of long-term unemployed, and it is particularly difficult to reintegrate the long-term unemployed in the market. On many occasions, I have advocated that there must be higher funding to deal with unemployment in order to create education and retraining programs. It has to be clear that when it comes to the economy, we do have a lot of ready, but in terms of combating unemployment we need more programs and we need to approach things in different ways.

The EU has to recognize that there are major differences in the labor markets of its Member States and that social and labour law should provide the necessary protection for all. Even for atypical working conditions, they have taken on a new dimension in Europe today and if you have people who have worked atypically and become unemployed they don’t have any real rights at all and this is not particularly efficient. Women and young people are particularly badly affected by this and this kind of unemployment undermines the system as a whole. Therefore, we have to be aware of that and create convergence conditions, so that there are no differences in Europe and in the Member States.