EU's terrible unemployment rate.

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readNov 11, 2021

If you wanted an EU job this century, the UK was the place to come.

Is it any wonder so many millions came from the EU27 to make their lives in the United Kingdom?

In an average year since the start of this century, the EU’s unemployment rate has been an average of 2/3rds higher than the UK’s in any given year, according to official EU figures I researched.

For every single year this century, unemployment in the EU has been higher in the EU than in the UK — and in some years it has been double the UK rate. These are comparable figures between the UK and the EU, contained in the EU’s own official statistics database.

The unemployment rate, aged 16 and over, EU versus the United Kingdom, 2000–2020

In the average year this century, EU unemployment was 65.4% higher than the UK’s

[Source data: Official EU Commission statistics from Eurostat.

Note: The 2020 figure for the UK comes from the UK Office for National Statistics.]

In the EU Referendum year of 2016, the unemployment rate was 90% higher in the EU compared to the United Kingdom.

Providing permanent jobs for millions of EU citizens, and temporary jobs for millions more

The UK’s extraordinary record of consistently lower unemployment compared to the EU was achieved despite the UK receiving a large number of EU migrants during this period and providing jobs for millions of them.

The latest UK Home Office figures show that over 5.5 million (5,548,440) EU citizens have applied for permanent settlement in the UK since last year when the scheme became operational. Without this, the EU’s unemployment rate in recent years would have been even higher than it already was and is.

This figure of 5.5 million does not of course include the millions of EU citizens who came to the UK for jobs from 2000–2019, worked for some time, and who left before the Settlement Scheme started in 2020. In other words, the UK has effectively been mopping up part of the EU’s unemployment for decades.

The worst 10 EU countries in which to be unemployed

The EU hasn’t solved unemployment in the last 20 years and is still way behind the UK. In some countries, the problem continues to be severe. In particular, Greece, Spain, and the EU’s third-largest economy Italy all continue to suffer. President Macron’s France also has much higher unemployment than the UK.

The worst 10 EU countries for unemployment in 2020

  1. Greece: 16.3%
  2. Spain: 15.5%
  3. Italy: 9.2%
  4. Lithuania: 8.5%
  5. Sweden: 8.3%
  6. Latvia: 8.1%
  7. France: 8.0%
  8. Finland: 7.8%
  9. Cyprus: 7.6%
  10. Croatia: 7.5%

[Source data: Official EU Commission statistics from Eurostat.]

The effect on the United Kingdom of millions of EU migrants

The issue of the EU’s infamous ‘Freedom of Movement’ edict was an important reason amongst the many reasons why the majority of British people voted to leave the EU back in 2016. To this day there are Remain campaigners both inside and outside of Parliament who wish to continue Free Movement in some form.

To those EU citizens who already decided to make their homes in the United Kingdom, readers naturally wish to make them feel welcome. They arrived perfectly legally. That said, this should not prevent any discussion of the effects of such a dramatic population shift from the EU to the UK.

The UK absorbed over 5 million EU migrants — but at what cost?

Below are just some of the consequences of the EU’s policy of Free Movement, which allowed millions of EU citizens to enter the UK in recent years., and the list is not exhaustive.

  • Deflating wages, particularly low-paid people, because of plentiful cheap EU labour
  • Pressure on housing — availability, rents
  • Pressure on health services — no increase in doctors, hospitals, midwifery in areas worst affected
  • Pressure on schools — class sizes, costs of employing translator-assistants in high immigrant areas
  • The increased pressure on all local services
  • Pressure on transport services and traffic
  • Lack of training of British people, and EU immigrants with lower but supposedly comparable standards being recruited instead
  • Lack of investment in new technologies and no increase in productivity, due to plentiful supply of cheap labour
  • “It doesn’t feel like my town/village anymore” — places with more EU shops than British ones, English not the common language

One of the problems has been that when anyone tried to complain about any of the above, a common criticism was to describe them as in some way racist. The reality is that people have merely been pointing out what was simply common sense. Had more in the Westminster bubble actually left it and spent time in the rest of the UK, they might perhaps have been less surprised when the majority of the electorate voted Leave.

[ Sources: EU Commission | UK Office for National Statistics ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.