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Europeans skeptic of improving economy, questions of job security

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By Shoshana Dubnow
Europeans skeptic of improving economy, questions of job security

European workers have been showing their anger in the streets and at the ballot boxes. A recent survey of European Trade Union Confederation members showed one-third voted for far-right parties in the recent elections. Their reasons were job insecurity and a shrinking social safety net.

Euronews spoke to a Hungarian woman about her thoughts on employment.

"In the news, one can only hear optimistic unemployment statistics," she said. "In reality, we have a serious problem. The government introduced a so-called public work program that has improved statistics. A lot of people have left the country to work abroad; that has also improved the situation. So in fact, it is only a virtual improvement, not a real one."

Though the economy looks better on paper, the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis lives on in the economic disparities between North, South and East Europe. Euronews spoke to Nobel Laureate Economist Christopher Pissarides who was in town for the Brussels Economic Forum.

"Big businesses prefer to be in their country's borders rather than thinking of Europe as where their borders are," he said. "And that needs to change. Without changing that way of thinking, I don't think we are going to converge."

Pissarides said the way to get Europe's social policy back on track is raising taxes, an issue that has proven to be taboo for politicians.

"Think about the advantage it's going to give you and then think about the tax you are required to raise," he said. "We have to be very careful to preserve our social model because it's what Europe is about."