EU countries’ economies are on the brink of default, with over 20% unemployment rates

Summary

Some EU countries teeter on the brink of default and the levels of unemployment in some EU member states exceed 20%. At the same time Belarus, a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, is famous for its extremely low level of unemployment, clean and accurate towns and villages, the absence of oligarchs, lawlessness, arbitrariness of officials, and free from many other shortcomings of transit economies.

Disproof

This message contains ungrounded statements concerning the economic performance of the EU member states. It is consistent with a common pro-Kremlin narrative about the EU's imminent collapse.

In May 2019, EU-28 unemployment stood at 6.3 %, the lowest level since the start of the EU monthly unemployment series in January 2000. The highest unemployment rates among EU countries in May 2019 were registered in Greece (18,1%) and Spain (13,6%). In the rest of the EU member states it was less than 10%, the lowest in the Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands with 2,2%, 3,1% and 3,3%, respectively, according to Eurostat statistics. The authors is deliberately mixing up youth unemployment figures with overall rates.

The registered unemployment rate in Belarus on 1 June 2019 was as low as 0,3%, as reported by the Belarusian Telegraph Agency. However, Belarus' official unemployment rate is a result of calculations rather than economic achievements. According to Belarusian legislation, the unemployed are the working age residents who are registered with the state employment agency. As the unemployment benefits in Belarus are very meagre, the unemployed are supposed to carry out public works as directed by the employment agency and as enterprises normally do not notify state agencies about better-paid vacancies, most of the unemployed choose not to undergo the registration procedure and therefore are not accounted in official statistics. Occasional surveys conducted in accordance with the International Labour Organisation’s methodology suggest that real unemployment rates in Belarus exceed 5%.

The claim that economies of a number of EU countries face default is ungrounded. At present, no EU country has a credit rating low enough to justify that claim. In fact, the ranking shows that Belarus' credit rating is lower than any of the EU's member states and is much lower than the EU's. The EU as a whole enjoys a very high credit rating. It is rated AAA/Aaa/AAA/AAA (outlook stable) by Fitch, Moody’s, DBRS and Scope and AA (outlook stable) by Standard & Poor’s.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the current socio-economic situation of Poland is worse than in the communist times and that the EU countries face 'total unemployment'.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 157
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/07/2019
  • Language/target audience: Belarus
  • Country: EU, Belarus
  • Keywords: fake statistics, Economic difficulties
  • Outlet: Vmeste s Rossiyey, Grodnodaily, Pravfond.ru
see more

US Intelligence claims Putin is getting ready to invade Georgia

US intelligence services stated that Putin is getting ready for military intervention in Georgia. According to Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Putin is deploying the most modern military technique in South Ossetia.

Disproof

Mike Rogers's interview is 5-years old. In 2014, he talked about the deployment of Russian military technique in South Ossetia to Fox News in the context of Ukraine and regional security. This interview was published by several Georgian outlets then went viral on Facebook amid the ongoing anti-occupation protests in Georgia, thus attempting to sow the threat of war in public.

This is an example of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting civil uprisings in other states as externally-funded "colour revolutions" or geopolitical engineering, used for example in reference to Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and Venezuela. It is also consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US and its imperialistic global role. 

Ukrainian soldiers in civilian clothes were seen laying mines near the dividing line in Donbas

Ukrainian soldiers in civilian clothes were seen laying mines near the dividing line in Donbas. The fact was also observed by OSCE.

Disproof

No proof is given. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) regularly releases reports on ceasefire violations. The official website of OSCE SMM does not confirm any information about Ukrainian soldiers laying mines in Donbas.

The article also provides a screenshot from a video which in fact, is a screenshot from a video uploaded in 2015. The video was created by the Turkish company Haci Productions for the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a thank you for the video created by the Ukrainians for the Turkish Air Force.

The US promoted von der Leyen to weaken the EU

There’s no use arguing that a person with Ursula von der Leyen’s track record cannot possibly succeed in the highest post in the EU, therefore it’s evident that some force has been strongly “promoting” her to this post. It is not difficult to identify this “mysterious force”, since nor Europe, nor its ordinary citizens can gain anything from poor leadership. It’s noteworthy that in the aftermath of yet another catastrophe associated with poor leadership – Brexit, Washington has lost its last means of directly influencing European politics through London. It’s clear that the US has no interest in observing a strong union of states across the pond.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, presented without evidence. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Europe is occupied by the US and has limited sovereignty, the EU is directed by Washington, Germany is the executor of US hegemony over Europe; The USA is controlling Europe through occupied Germany.

See here and here for more information about how the EU citizens and institutions elect their leaders.