Daily Archives: October 29, 2009

David Miliband, British foreign secretary,  

Gideon Rachman

For most of the past twenty years, high levels of unemployment in Europe have been a source of shame and concern for European policymakers. Conversely, the Americans have revelled in the extraordinary job-creating US economy. Whenever Europeans defended their welfare states, or poined to inequality in the US, the Americans had a ready riposte – at least our people are at work.

But, without exciting much comment, things have now changed. American unemployment is alarmingly high – 9.8% according to the tables at the back of The Economist. By comparision, Britain is 7.9%, Germany 8.2%, the Netherlands 5.1%, Denmark 3.7%. The euro-zone as a whole is at 9.6%, just below the States – but the average is dragged up by Spain’s outstandingly poor performance, with unemployment of 18.9%. 

Gideon Rachman

For those of you who have not yet made it to p.24 of the second section (UK edition) of today’s FT, may I bring your attention to what seems to the single most amusing/interesting fact in today’s paper.

Paul Betts in his European View notes that, during the French EU presidency, France hosted a three day “Union of the Mediterranean summit” that cost 16.6m euros. He goes on – “On the occasion of that summit, a shower was specially installed in the Grand Palais in Paris at a cost of €245,000 for the personal use of the president. Mr Sarkozy never used it.”