Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Napolitano appeals as unemployment hits record high


(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, May 31 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
on Friday appealed for urgent action to help the needy and
unemployed as Italy's jobless rate hit a new high.
The head of State implicitly asked prefects to try to stop a
wave of suicides among the rising numbers of 'new poor' in
recession-hit Italy.
He asked the local representatives of the State to show "the
utmost attention for situations of greatest malaise and need,
promoting initiatives of listening, support and integration to
avert as much as possible tragic episodes like those which have
occurred recently".
Napolitano spoke a day after he invoked Italy's
Constitution, based on labour, in the war on unemployment, and
as national statistics agency Istat reported jobless rates
hitting new highs, especially among the young.
Unemployment reached 12.8% in the first quarter of 2013, the
highest since the first quarter of 1977, Istat said Friday, with
almost 3.3 million people out of work.
The jobless rate among 15-to-24-year-olds hit a record 41.9%
in the first quarter, also the highest since the first quarter
of 1977, Istat said.
Last week Istat said that 2.25 million 15-to-29-year-olds
were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in 2012,
23.9% of the total.
On Thursday Istat said 11% of them had given up on the
prospect of getting a job.
In the latest in a spate of recession-linked episodes on
Thursday, a young man who recently lost his job threw himself
off a balcony in the town of Arce south of Rome.
The 26-year-old, a recent university graduate, was
helicoptered to a Rome hospital with serious spinal injuries.
Italy has seen a series of suicides apparently
linked to economic difficulties in the last year but most have
been older people, not in their 20s or 30s.
A fertiliser-factory owner killed himself near Pisa last
month while a man afraid of losing his job in an eyewear
factory near Belluno and a carpenter whose business was in
trouble in central Sardinia also took their own lives.
Also last month, three people - a married couple and the
woman's brother - committed suicide in Marche, gaining
front-page headlines and adding to a toll whose exact impact has
not been measured.
Businesses are closing at an unprecedented rate, employers'
associations report, while unemployment is at a record high in
Italy's worst recession for 20 years.
On Thursday Napolitano appealed for the nation's political
parties, trade unions and businesses to combat the huge problem
of unemployment.
"We must have a republic that measures up to Article One of
the Constitution," Napolitano said, calling on all the social
and political groups to join forces in this.
Article One of the Constitution states that Italy is a
republic "founded on labour".
"This isn't just an Italian problem," said Napolitano. "The
technologies and terms of employment have changed and it was
realised very late that unemployment among young people is
spreading in the West and in emerging countries.
"In Italy we are feeling this acutely and dramatically".
But Napolitano also stressed the country's youth needed to
focus on meritocracy when looking for a job, not nepotism or
"There are many young people who still count on favoritism
to get a job. However, jobs obtained by personal recommendations
don't even scratch the surface of the problem of youth
unemployment," he said
"Even if this is a serious problem, the truth is that with
or without favoritism, millions and millions of young people are
out of work," Napolitano said.
Italy's youth, already being called 'a lost generation',
risk going "psychologically adrift," he added in urging "special
attention" for them.
"Above all, regional, local and government institutions
need to focus attention on the condition of youth...who feel
they have no prospects (for the future)," Napolitano said.

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