The Great Debate UK

Short-time work cushions Europe in crisis


paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

Unlike the 1930s, there are no hunger marches or tent cities of the homeless and jobless in Europe’s biggest economic slump since the Great Depression.

Welfare states built after World War Two, and labour market regulation in many West European countries, have cushioned workers and their families so far from the full force of the collapse of banks, the credit squeeze and a deep recession.

“People who were criticising the European welfare state just a few months ago are now praising it as a shock absorber in the crisis,” said Jacques Delors, who championed pan-European social legislation as European Commission president from 1985 to 1994.