Unemployment in the European Union is at an all time high of 11%, and the unemployment rate for the Eurozone is 12.2%.These statistics are high and show that the EU is still suffering tremendously. However, despite this Croatia has become the 28th member of the union.
This week has seen a lot of news on the EU, and has split opinion between those pro-EU and those sceptical of it. It seems that all EU news these days is negative, particularly since the financial crash and the rise of UKIP. But there is one piece of news from the EU that is positive and benefits the consumer. On Monday the 1st of July the EU introduced new mobile phone roaming caps. As a result it is now cheaper to text, call and use data between EU countries.
It is of course arguable that this is not good for businesses as the fall in charges reduces profits for mobile phone companies. But for consumers travelling through Europe, for either work of pleasure, the new rules can only be beneficial.
As someone who just returned from interrailing across a large part of the EU, from Amsterdam to Budapest, the move is positive for my future travels. However, it is annoyingly frustrating that the rules only made it cheaper four days after my return. But of course, it bodes well for future trips.
Although the change reduces the cost of texts and calls noticeably, the most significant change is with internet usage charges. As said by the BBC:
That will fall by roughly a third to 45 euro cents per megabyte or about 38.5p, plus VAT.
This will obviously make it easier and cheaper for travellers, and other consumers, roaming in the EU.
As someone who leaves the UK a fair amount for holidays to other EU nations, I find this a great improvement. Furthermore, businesspersons trading and travelling in all parts of the EU from Spain to Finland will find the move most beneficial. However, I feel the EU has more work to do by making it even cheaper, albeit over time for a smooth transition, to help consumers and business people travelling through Europe.
This position is not about enforcing further EU integration. It is about helping the consumer. Ideally roaming costs between all countries on the planet should be reduced, but that of course will take time.