Monday, January 24, 2011


In my village many of what are today elderly men left their homes in the 1950s to work in Germany. They still speak some German to this day and they or their widows have sent to them a monthly pension from Germany.

There are photos of my street with my neighbours’ children playing, their mothers gathered together but no men in sight because they were a 1,000 miles away. True they sent home money but the children were raised without a father.

These men, labourers and agricultural workers, were part of the great migration from Spain in search of work. Now in 2011 it would appear the exercise is about to be repeated except this time jobless but qualified young Spaniards would be making the trip instead of sons of the soil.

The move has been revealed in the magazine Der Spiegel. The aim is to partially solve the German deficiency in young professionals especially those who have been left jobless by the Spanish economic crash.

According to Der Spiegel the subject will be high on the agenda of the German-Spanish summit to be held in Madrid on February 3 to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. It will form a bilateral labour agreement between the two countries. It is not only Spain that will benefit but other nations in the south and the east of Europe which are suffering from the debt crisis and unemployment.

It is understood that young qualified Spaniards and Portuguese are the preferred candidates by Germany because of the ease of movement between the EU countries.

Studies have suggested that Germany needs between 500,000 and 800,000 new qualified workers. The key areas are engineering and telecommunications both seen as important growth sectors for its economy.

Germany is the leading economy in Europe and grew by 3.6 per cent in 2010 with predictions of 2.3per cent for this year. Hand in hand with this growth it has seen its own jobless levels gradually reduce.

The good news is that those Spanish graduates will at last be offered well paid and secure jobs. The bad news is that Spain will loose a generation of those it has educated to university level and who are highly skilled – who once gone – will be very difficult to lure back. Once again families will be broken up and again the curse of emigration will return to the Iberian Peninsula.

1 comment:

Tony Murphy said...

As an Irishman this all has a very familiar ring to it.