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October 2012, Volume 19, Number 4

EU: Migrants, Unemployment

Eurostat reported that 33.3 million foreign citizens lived in the EU-27 member states in 2011, including 12.8 million EU nationals living in another EU member country and 20.5 million non-EU foreign citizens. There were 48.9 million foreign-born persons in the EU-27 countries, including 32.4 million born outside the EU-27 countries. The population of the EU 27 countries was 502 million in 2011.

Three-fourths of the foreigners in the EU were in five countries. There were 7.2 million in Germany, making them nine percent of German residents; 5.7 million foreigners or 12 percent of Spanish residents; 4.6 million foreigners or eight percent of Italian residents; 4.5 million foreigners or seven percent of British residents; and 3.8 million foreigners or six percent of French residents.

Germany also had the most intra-EU migrants in 2011, 3.4 million, followed by Spain and the UK with 2.3 million each; France with 2.1 million; and Italy with 1.7 million.

The European Commission, the executive of the 27-member EU, proposed to spend almost $1 trillion between 2014 and 2020, up slightly from E925 billion. About 40 percent of EU spending is on farm-related subsidies, which benefits chiefly France, while poorer EU members benefit from "cohesion" funds and most countries receiving "structural" funds for disadvantaged regions.

Unemployment. The unemployment rate in the 17 Euro countries was 11.2 percent in June 2012, meaning that almost 18 million workers were jobless. The German unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in June 2012, the lowest rate since unification in 1991.

About 58 percent of non-EU foreigners aged 20-64 in EU member states were employed in 2011, compared with 69 percent of EU nationals in this age group.

Europe has too many auto factories, and they are producing at less than 65 percent of capacity because of lack of demand for cars. Car sales in Europe are projected at about 12 million in 2012, down from 15 million in 2007. The combination of the 2008-09 recession and the Euro crisis is forcing GM's Opel and PSA Peugeot Citroen to close factories that cannot produce enough cars to be efficient, which is at least 75 percent of capacity.

In the US, 17 auto factories closed between 2007 and 2012, compared to three closures in Europe.