Structural unemployment in farming major challenge for new EU members

Structural unemployment in agriculture is one of the major political challenges in the candidate countries, according to a new study released by the Commission on 1 August.

The study "Social security systems and demographic developments in agriculture in the CEE candidate countries" was prepared for the Commission by the Network of Independent Experts in the CEE Candidate Countries and the Institute for Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).

It provides an overview of the agricultural social security systems and their impact on agrarian structural change. The report shows that social security arrangements for agricultural workers in the future EU member and the candidate countries are generally integrated into the overall social security system. However, a large number of farmers are not covered adequately. The low levels of social security in some countries mean that subsistence agriculture is essential for the livelihood of unemployed and pensioners.

The study concludes that age structure of farmers in the future EU Member States is such that encouraging them into off-farm employment is not realistic. The paper recommends encouraging farmers to take up early retirement through incentives in the social security system, provided it leads to an accelerated restructuring of the sector.


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