EU warned of dire jobless social fallout

May 5, 2009 at 10:01 AM
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BRUSSELS, May 5 (UPI) -- The social fallout from unemployment triggered by the economic crisis in Europe could be explosive, Eurogroup Chairman Jean Claude Juncker says.

Speaking Monday to a meeting in Brussels on toxic assets held by European banks and the continent's rising unemployment, Junker, who was a labor minister in Luxembourg for 17 years, warned that social stresses from the economic crisis are being underestimated by European officials, the EUObserver reported.

"We are in the heart of an economic and financial crisis and we are headed towards a social crisis," Juncker said after a meeting with eurozone finance ministers, adding that the social fallout is potentially "explosive."

"My feeling is that many politicians underestimate the extent of the phenomenon," he said.

Junker's comments came after EU Economy Commissioner Joaquin Almunia presented the latest economic forecast, in which unemployment was projected to rise to 9.9 percent this year in the eurozone and to 9.4 percent for the EU's 27 nations, the EUObserver reported.

The finance ministers also reported on member nations' efforts to neutralize toxic assets held by banks to restore public and investor confidence, the newspaper said.

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