In both countries, hit by industrial decline and factory shut-downs, the lack of mobility fuels raging unemployment, adding to recession and lagging competitiveness.
Too many workers are unwilling or unable to move from one sector to another or one region to another, due to a debilitating mix of factors from high real estate prices to deficient training and family dependency.
The immobility in wealthier “old Europe” is a contrast to the hundreds of thousands of workers from poorer central and eastern Europe who took advantage of the EU’s free movement of labor to flock westwards in the mid-2000s in search of jobs.
About 19.2 million people are now out of work in the 17-nation euro zone, a top priority for EU leaders who meet on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, but with little concrete relief to offer.
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