EU migration to Germany: Sprechen Sie job?

DANIEL GÓMEZ GARCIA, aged 23, is the sort of person Europe’s leaders may have had in mind when, on paper at least, they turned the European Union into a single labour market like America’s. Mr Gómez, from Andalusia in Spain, learned a smattering of German in school and passable English while studying in America. But when he came back to Spain he saw that hardly anybody in his class of 80 had a job. “Nothing to do, so let me go to Germany and get the language,” he recalls thinking. In autumn 2012 he took an unpaid four-month internship at his embassy in Berlin and paid for his tiny flat-share by helping a local holiday-rental firm with its Excel spreadsheets. Last month that turned into a low-paying but permanent job as an accountant.

That is how the single market is supposed to work. Spain has a youth unemployment rate of 56%. In Greece it is 58% (see chart). By contrast, Germany has negligible youth unemployment (8%) and a shortage of qualified workers. Theoretically, people should be willing to move from the “crisis countries” to the boom towns, just as the Okies once flocked to California.To some extent this migration is indeed happening. New arrivals in…

The Economist: Europe

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