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European Union needs skilled workers

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New research shows that the European Union risks being left behind in the global competition for skilled engineers and scientists.

The study by BusinessEurope states that the inflow of graduates in science and technology is falling across the 27-member bloc.

According to the research Germany is suffering from a shortage of 117,000 skilled workers. Austria reported a 77 percent shortage of skilled labour in 2010.

The European Commission has stated that the EU needs millions of skilled migrants by 2050 to remain competitive. This has been the driving force behind the blue card initiative, a one-stop shop for non-EU skilled migrants that will enable them to gain work and residence permits in EU member states.

The EU has also put forward an intra-company transfer scheme which will allow multi-national firms to bring overseas workers into the EU.

"The challenge ahead of us is immense," said Philippe de Buck, BusinessEurope's director-general. "The position of Europe in today's world economy is under pressure."

"Emerging economies are pushing hard," he added.