2 March 2016   Leave a comment

As the EU wrestles with the refugee problem and the question of a British exit from the EU, one of the prized policies of the EU is at risk.  The Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement of people within the EU, is critically important to the economic health of the Union.  If countries decide that they no longer wish to honor that agreement, experts believe that it could reduce economic growth in the Union by as much as €28 billion (about $30 billion at today’s exchange rate).  That decrease would be a major hit to a European economy that is already somewhat in decline.

The World Economic Forum has published a report called “The Future of Jobs” which is both encouraging and discouraging.  In terms of the skills that will be required in the future, the report predicts that

On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today, according to our respondents. Overall, social skills— such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.

On the other hand, it also predicts that

….current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labour market changes over the period 2015–2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs—two thirds of which are concentrated in routine white collar office functions, such as Office and Administrative roles—and a total gain of 2 million jobs, in Computer and Mathematical and Architecture and Engineering related fields.

In other words, fewer jobs will be created than will be lost.

The UN Security Council has voted to impose harsh new sanctions, believed to be as harsh as those imposed on Iran, on North Korea for its ongoing nuclear activities.  The passed resolution indicates that the US and China have reached an accommodation on how to deal with North Korea.  The resolution thus represents a victory of sorts, even if it doesn’t change North Korean policy.  The fact that the US and China have defined a mutual interest with respect to North Korea is a major step forward in the relations between the two countries.


Posted March 2, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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