The high levels of unemployment have led one European leader to suggest leaving the country. According to the FT in London, Portugal’s prime minister, Passos Coelho, has indicated to the younger generation that if they can’t find any work they should “leave their comfort zone” by going overseas. Some from the political left have suggested that although there is a lot more freedom since the dictatorship ended in 1974, this has not translated into opportunities for employment. When Portugal joined the euro in 1999 they became a net importer of migrants but last year it is estimated that 150,000 emigrated overseas and a significant number of them being graduates. As with a lot european countries inflexible labour laws which make it costly to dismiss older workers mean that companies are less likely to employ younger workers. However changing the labour laws to make it easier to get rid of workers isn’t going to go suddenly create more jobs.
In Ireland, since the GFC in 2008, 250,000 people have left the country. What’s more worrying is that the youth unemployment (18-24 year olds) has risen to approximately 33% and that is not taking into consideration those who have emigrated. However to any government youth emigration has some benefits:
1. There is less need for social welfare support
2. It reduces the chances of social unrest which generally tends to originate from the younger members of the population.