Spending more on cows than youth
Ask any European what their most pressing concern is and chances are they'll tell you it's unemployment.
Jobless rates throughout most of Europe are just plain frightening — especially in Greece and Spain. And, believe it or not, EU citizens don't list the debt crisis in Greece, Cyprus or some small European nation as their No.1 worry, notes the European Council on Foreign Relations.
However, the debt crisis is the main preoccupation of EU bureaucrats in Brussels.
The council notes that 51 per cent of those in the EU say unemployment is their biggest problem and that it is four times more important to them than the debt crisis, followed by immigration and terrorism. The data for this comes from the Fondation Robert Schuman, a French research centre concerned with the EU.
According to Eurostat, last August there were 26.6 million people unemployed in the European group of 28 countries. Of those, 19.178 million were in the common euro market area. Eurostat, the official data keeper for the EU, says the lowest unemployment rates are in Austria, at 4.9 per cent, and Germany, at 5.2 per cent. The highest rates are in Greece, at 27.9 per cent, and Spain, at 26.2 per cent. Youth jobless rates in Greece and Spain are an astounding 61.5 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively.
Yet — and this is my favourite European cow factoid of the day — the EU spends more money caring for a cow than an unemployed youth. Spanish journalist Jorge Valero points out a cow gets about 12.7 euros while a jobless youth gets 1.26 euros per year, says the council's Jose Ignacio Torreblanca.
Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga