The International Labour Organization (ILO) has said it expects the EU's large-scale investment plan to create millions of new jobs. But it warned that efforts needed to be focused more on the eurozone's strugglers.
The United Nations labor body said Wednesday the EU's planned large-scale investment scheme may create up to 2.1 million new jobs, if Brussels succeeded in attracting massive private investment.
The figure cited by the International Labour Organization is considerably higher than the 1.3 million new jobs projected by European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen earlier this week.
The president of the EU executive, Jean-Claude Juncker had started drafting a three-year plan aimed at leveraging an EU fund of 21 billion euros ($24 billion) as a risk buffer to attract 315 billion euros in mostly private investments.
Think of the needy!
The ILO said the plan could only be successful if it was directed in a much clearer way towards the countries with the highest jobless rates in Europe. The program, it added, should also include training policies for high-skilled jobs.
In the southern eurozone nations of Greece and Spain, unemployment keeps hovering around 25 percent, with youth unemployment about twice as high.
ILO officials noted that so far the nations most hit by the protracted debt crisis had been receiving a disproportionally small share of funding from the European Investment Bank.
"Not taking into account the needs of countries such as Greece may only exacerbate the economic and employment disparity that currently prevails across Europe," the organization warned.
But if organized in a shrewd way, the EU investment program could see the continent's jobless rate decrease by almost 1 percent by 2018, the ILO maintained.
hg/bk (Reuters, dpa)