The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has warned that parts of Europe are facing a "real social emergency".
Speaking during a European Commission conference on EU employment on 6 September 2012, he claimed that the economic crisis had become a "crisis of confidence and a crisis of respect for our values".
The conference focussed on how the eurozone crisis is affecting unemployment rates in the union.
Around 10% of the EU population of working age is unemployed, with the highest rate in Spain - where almost a quarter of the potential workforce is jobless.
Mr Barroso said there needed to be "full economic and monetary union" to create growth and jobs.
Meanwhile, the European Council President, Herman van Rompuy, highlighted the fact that despite the high numbers of unemployed people, there were two million job vacancies across the EU.
He called for a greater focus on "job mobility", to make it easier for people to move between EU countries to take up employment.
The biggest increases have taken place in youth unemployment, with countries such as Greece, Spain and Cyprus seeing the biggest rises.
The conference will be opened by the Employment Commissioner László Andor and Koos Richelle, the head of the Commission's Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Directorate.
There will be opening speeches by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, and the Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso.