Bratislava – capital city of Slovakia versus other regions of Slovak Republic

West versus East, East versus West, Bratislava versus Slovakia, Slovakia versus Bratislava. I am not talking about sports rivalry, but unfortunately about the whole society rivalry. Rivalry between the capital city – Bratislava lying in the most western part of Slovakia and the rest of the country. We hear this question from everywhere in Slovakia – argues about who lives from whom money.

Bratislava is capital city of Slovak republic and there are some huge differences between it and other regions of country, differences regarding quality of life, GDP, unemployment rates, wages and many more.

For administrative division, Slovakia is subdivided into 8 regions (kraje) since 1996:

sr-kraje-590

5 obyvatelia

Despite the efforts of governments, Slovakia is still unable to remove the significant regional differences. Development is concentrated mainly in and around its capital Bratislava, respectively around major cities and their hinterlands. More about economic and labour indicators after jump. Continue reading

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Greece is facing an exodus of young academics

Every month the unemployment rate in Greece reaches a new high. According to official statistics of Greece (ELSTAT) the unemployment rate already exceeded the level of 1 million at the end of December 2011, leaving more than 20 % of the population without a job. The youth unemployment has increased by 12 % compared to the same month of the previous year and reached a total of 51,1 %.

Source: HELLENIC STATISTICAL AUTHORITY

Officially every second youth between 15 and 24 years doesn’t have a job, but the numbers are unadjusted and embellished. In Greece  a person is classified as employed when  they are aged 15 years or older and were working more than one hour the week for pay or profit. The labour market situation is getting worse every week. Obviously Greece is not able to cope with the financial crisis, although they receive substantial support from the European Union. However, Greece is faced with another problem of great importance. The poor economic situation could lead to an exodus of young academics. Corresponding to a survey of the Greek Kapa Institution in August 2010 more than two third of young academics between 22 and 35 give consideration to emigration. The better the educational grade the stronger the impulse to leave Greece. Almost 9 % of the universities graduates are leaving the country and even 51 % of the postdoctorals. Reasons mentioned were the lack of job opportunities, high taxes and hardly any possibilities for advanced training. The chances of finding a job in other countries of the European Union or in the United States are not bad, because companies from many countries throughout the world are very interested in employing high qualified personnel from foreign countries to cover the future demand of skilled personnel. There is a particularly high demand for computer specialists, chemical engineers and experts in hotel business.

What is joy for one, is sorrow for the other. While the other european countries are happy about the immigrating motivated graduates, Grecce has to do its utmost to break the vicious circle, as long as it is possible.

 

Sources:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/greece/unemployment-rate

http://www.statistics.gr/portal/page/portal/ESYE/BUCKET/A0101/PressReleases/A0101_SJO02_DT_MM_12_2011_01_F_EN.pdf

http://www.goethe.de/lhr/prj/daz/mag/mig/en7677979.htm

http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/exodus-der-akademiker-junge-griechen-elite-verlaesst-ihr-land/5765892.html

 

Hungary struggles to rein in runaway pension costs

 

Hungary struggles to rein in runaway pension costs
Buzz up!
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Reuters, Wednesday June 3 2009
* Steps taken to remedy pension problems but more needed
* Demographics problems similar as elsewhere in EU
* High debt, taxes, and system anomalies root of problem
By Balazs Koranyi
BUDAPEST, June 3 (Reuters) – Hungary may emerge healthier from reforms forced on it by its economic crisis but its politicians have not done enough to defuse the ticking timebomb that is one of Europe’s weakest pension systems.
The country’s poor demographics, failed reform, heavy and ineffective taxation, a skewed labour market and heavy debt burden all threaten the system with collapse and require quick action, analysts say.
They got some of that from a caretaker technocrat government appointed, after last year’s IMF bailout, to hold the fort and implement painful reforms before elections in 2010.
The new administration has slashed pensions, which account for about 20 percent of total budget spending, and scrapped the indexing system that made pension hikes, even in a time of economic recession, mandatory.
But analysts say there is still much to do — and little sign conservatives Fidesz will implement further reforms if, as expected, they take power at elections in 2010.
“The private pillar is (still) uncompetitive, lacks transparency, it’s expensive and makes poor returns … (and) the public system is bleeding from a thousand wounds,” said Peter Holczer, who heads the Pension Roundtable, an advisory board set up by the government.
Budapest’s finances are now being kept afloat by the $25.1 billion IMF-led rescue package. But it still faces a 6.7 percent contraction in its economy and expects its public debt level to hit 80.2 percent of GDP this year.
Consulting firm Deloitte last year estimated that unless the system is changed, the public pension system’s deficit will go from 0.8 percent of GDP in 2007 to 3.7 percent by 2050.
FEW WORKING
Pension problems are a familiar theme across Europe, where ageing populations and the falling percentage of the population working have prompted many governments to implement politically painful reforms.
But Hungary’s high public debt, high budget deficit and widespread tax evasion make the problem more acute than elsewhere. Unemployment is far from eastern Europe’s highest at 9.9 percent, but, at 54 percent, it has one of the lowest employment rates in the 27-nation European Union.
Disability pensions are perhaps the biggest anomaly in the system and successive governments have failed to address it. Critics say the system is both corrupt and inept.
Over 800,000 people, or more than 10 percent of the adult population receive disability pension and nearly a third of all pensioners are below the retirement age.
“Disability pensions are not a pension issue but a social and labour market issue,” Holczer said. “The state has used pensions to solve social tensions and to keep unemployment down.”
Tamas, 37, who asked not to be named, is nearly completely blind and receives a full disability pension because of that. He is also the CFO of a large international firm’s Hungarian unit with a salary in the top 10 percent of the population.
He tried to get his pension cancelled but simply could not.
“I was sent from one office clerk to another and I was told it couldn’t be done. Once you get it, you get if for life. And I was told that instead of complaining, I should be thankful I’m getting help,” Tamas said.
“It’s idiotic. I earn around 20 times the minimum wage but nobody cares, they keep sending me the money. Fine, it’s free money, I’ll take it.”
BOTCHED REFORM
Hungary has launched pension reform before. In 1997 it put in place an internationally acclaimed system that relied on setting up the “second pillar”, or private funds next to the pay as you go system.
But mediocre fund regulation, poor state administration and frequent regulatory changes resulted in a poor operating figures for the private funds and failed to encourage people to take part.
“Young people today lack any trust in the system and are convinced they’ll never get their money back so they’re not willing to take part in the system,” Holczer said.
Pensioners make up more than 25 percent of the population now but Deloitte estimates that this rate will rise to 35.5 percent by 2050 if the system is not overhauled.
As such, touching pensions is also politically sensitive and government after government avoids the issue to maintain the favour of a key voting block.
Little is known about what Fidesz will do, as polls show, it wins by a landslide in elections due early next year, but analysts say Hungary now has no fiscal room for manoeuvre — at least making any retreat on reforms unlikely.
“It’s pretty clear to people (politicians) that a reversal of reforms would be counterproductive,” said HSBC analyst Juliet Sampson.
“Politicians in Hungary had a lot of leverage for years and they have no leverage now, they can only walk on one path.”

* Steps taken to remedy pension problems but more needed

* Demographics problems similar as elsewhere in EU

* High debt, taxes, and system anomalies root of problem

 

BUDAPEST – Hungary may emerge healthier from reforms forced on it by its economic crisis but its politicians have not done enough to defuse the ticking timebomb that is one of Europe’s weakest pension systems.

The country’s poor demographics, failed reform, heavy and ineffective taxation, a skewed labour market and heavy debt burden all threaten the system with collapse and require quick action, analysts say.

They got some of that from a caretaker technocrat government appointed, after last year’s IMF bailout, to hold the fort and implement painful reforms before elections in 2010.

The new administration has slashed pensions, which account for about 20 percent of total budget spending, and scrapped the indexing system that made pension hikes, even in a time of economic recession, mandatory.

But analysts say there is still much to do — and little sign conservatives Fidesz will implement further reforms if, as expected, they take power at elections in 2010.

“The private pillar is (still) uncompetitive, lacks transparency, it’s expensive and makes poor returns … (and) the public system is bleeding from a thousand wounds,” said Peter Holczer, who heads the Pension Roundtable, an advisory board set up by the government.

Budapest’s finances are now being kept afloat by the $25.1 billion IMF-led rescue package. But it still faces a 6.7 percent contraction in its economy and expects its public debt level to hit 80.2 percent of GDP this year.

Consulting firm Deloitte last year estimated that unless the system is changed, the public pension system’s deficit will go from 0.8 percent of GDP in 2007 to 3.7 percent by 2050.

FEW WORKING

Pension problems are a familiar theme across Europe, where ageing populations and the falling percentage of the population working have prompted many governments to implement politically painful reforms.

But Hungary’s high public debt, high budget deficit and widespread tax evasion make the problem more acute than elsewhere. Unemployment is far from eastern Europe’s highest at 9.9 percent, but, at 54 percent, it has one of the lowest employment rates in the 27-nation European Union.

Disability pensions are perhaps the biggest anomaly in the system and successive governments have failed to address it. Critics say the system is both corrupt and inept.

Over 800,000 people, or more than 10 percent of the adult population receive disability pension and nearly a third of all pensioners are below the retirement age.

“Disability pensions are not a pension issue but a social and labour market issue,” Holczer said. “The state has used pensions to solve social tensions and to keep unemployment down.”

Tamas, 37, who asked not to be named, is nearly completely blind and receives a full disability pension because of that. He is also the CFO of a large international firm’s Hungarian unit with a salary in the top 10 percent of the population.

He tried to get his pension cancelled but simply could not.

“I was sent from one office clerk to another and I was told it couldn’t be done. Once you get it, you get if for life. And I was told that instead of complaining, I should be thankful I’m getting help,” Tamas said.

“It’s idiotic. I earn around 20 times the minimum wage but nobody cares, they keep sending me the money. Fine, it’s free money, I’ll take it.”

BOTCHED REFORM

Hungary has launched pension reform before. In 1997 it put in place an internationally acclaimed system that relied on setting up the “second pillar”, or private funds next to the pay as you go system.

But mediocre fund regulation, poor state administration and frequent regulatory changes resulted in a poor operating figures for the private funds and failed to encourage people to take part.

“Young people today lack any trust in the system and are convinced they’ll never get their money back so they’re not willing to take part in the system,” Holczer said.

Pensioners make up more than 25 percent of the population now but Deloitte estimates that this rate will rise to 35.5 percent by 2050 if the system is not overhauled.

As such, touching pensions is also politically sensitive and government after government avoids the issue to maintain the favour of a key voting block.

Little is known about what Fidesz will do, as polls show, it wins by a landslide in elections due early next year, but analysts say Hungary now has no fiscal room for manoeuvre — at least making any retreat on reforms unlikely.

“It’s pretty clear to people (politicians) that a reversal of reforms would be counterproductive,” said HSBC analyst Juliet Sampson.

“Politicians in Hungary had a lot of leverage for years and they have no leverage now, they can only walk on one path.”

Estonia is fifth for unemployment in EU

The average unemployment in the European Union (EU) is 7.9 pct according to Eurostat information, and the unemployment is highest in Spain, Ireland and all three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia).

In Spain the unemployment was 15.5 pct, Latvia 14.4 pct, Lithuania 13.7 pct, Ireland 10 pct and in Estonia 9.9 pct.

The largest falls were observed in Bulgaria (6.2 pct to 5.5 pct) and Slovakia (10.2 pct to 9.8 pct), and the highest increases in Lithuania (4.4 pct to 13.7 pct), Latvia (6.1 pct to 14.4 pct) and Spain (9.3 pct to 15.5 pct).

The lowest unemployment was in the Netherlands, 2.7 pct.

By the end of march 54 979 unemployed had registered in the Estonian Labour Market Board, this is 18,5 pct increase from February. In a year unemployment has increased by 220 pct, aripaev.ee writes.

According to the Labour Market Board 58 093 unemployed were looking for a job in March and out of that 1528 people found a job. 11 898 new unemployed people were registered.

At the end of March 9445 young people in the ages of 16-24 and 14 188 older people of 50 and older registered themselves on the Labour Market Board. 53,6 pct of the people registered were men.

During March the Labour Market Board had 3131 job offers for passing on and around April 1st there were 1459 job offers.

Unemployment in Slovakia dropped to an all-time low

Slovakiais struggling with its unemployment for many years and is taking a lot of money from the state budget. It is caused due to a very high birth rate of the Slovak Roma population. It is obvious mainly in the reagion of east of Slovakia, which is a very poor region, where the Romas are centered. Also Slovakia is a country of medium and small enterprises mostly. This would not be considered as a problem if the legislation and business environment in the country were more flexible and started to apply the concept of flexicurity, to adapt more to the current labour market. Even though, implementing active labour market policy measures, one of the flexicurity factors, within the framework of the national action plan for employment (NAP) has contributed to the gradual decrease in unemployment levels. The report you can read here.

We have now lot of young people studying in Universities, so there is no worry about skilled labour force. The problem is with the low number of free positions in companies, whether public or private one’s.Continuing, the transition from school to work is not completly solved still. They say that to make this better, the students will be studying for those “empty” job position that need to be filled later. But to read more about this, take a look at this article.

Big entrepreneur misplaced the headquarter

One of the biggest insurance company is the Gothaer. Annually this company earns about 4 Milliarden Euro and has about 3.5 Million people insured. This company was found in Gotha (east Germany) and after the second world war the headquarter moved to Göttingen, my hometown, in the centre of Germany. For Göttingen and as well for the whole region the company is / was a really important employee as they employed about 1.200. In the 90s Gothaer start to establish a new location in Cologne where at first some branches of the insurance were moved. Finally, in 2006 the Gothaer management team informed that they will close Göttingen and move the location to Cologne as well.

Right now in Göttingen there are only 750 employees left and each month there are less and less. The company offer to give some people the chance to work in cologne as well. If somebody doesn’t want to move to Cologne he’s unemployed. I can immagine that for each person who has his family and friends there it must be a really hard decision.

So, what do you think? Will you go to another city to work there? What you will do with your family?

Source (I’m sorry, it’s only available in German language )

EU employment reaches new high / European youth misses out on jobs boom

I found articles about how the employment in Europe has risen and that still more and more new jobs have been created- mostly in service sector ( while agriculture has experienced a steady decrease). The most markedly fall of unemployment have been recorded in Poland, but there was a drop also in new member states as well as in Germany and France. There is a prognosis for Germany to even reach the Lisbon employment target of 70% of a employment rate in 2010. On the other hand, in spite of the big amount of new jobs the unemployment among 15-24 year-olds has decreased. The reasons stated in the article are insufficient qualifications and labour market segmentation favouring insiders at the expense of newcomers. Read  more here and here🙂