70% of Portugal’s unemployed do not receive benefit

The true situation of Portugal’s “chronic unemployed” – people without work for over a year – has been outlined by social analyst Isabelle Maquet, who claims Europe as a whole has as good as ignored the problem for far too long, with just 25% of long-term unemployed receiving benefit, and less than 10% enrolled on professional training schemes. In Portugal, she added, the situation sees 70% of long-term unemployed bereft of support.

Considering that on his visit to Lisbon less than two weeks ago, British PM David Cameron congratulated Portugal’s prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho on what he called his “impressive record” on reducing unemployment, it can now be seen how open to misinterpretation this kind of data can be.

The “good news” in this case is that “the problem of unemployment, particularly for those out of work for a long time”, is at last to be tackled with “a series of new projects” run out of the IEFP (institute of employment and professional training).

Speaking at a conference in Lisbon last week, IEFP chief Francisco d’Aguiar explained efforts are in hand to persuade international businesses in Lisbon and Porto to hire long-term unemployed people, while renewed energy is being channelled into getting unemployed people to sign up for re-training.