News / Economy

Merkel Hosts Jobless Summit in Shadow of Portugal Crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (4th L), France's President Francois Hollande (2nd L), Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (3rd L), European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (2nd R), European Parliament President Martin Schulz (R), European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (3rd R) and German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen attend a news conference after an EU conference on Youth Unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (4th L), France's President Francois Hollande (2nd L), Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (3rd L), European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (2nd R), European Parliament President Martin Schulz (R), European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (3rd R) and German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen attend a news conference after an EU conference on Youth Unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.
Reuters
A political crisis in Portugal threatened to overshadow a meeting of EU leaders in Berlin on Wednesday at which Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped to rebrand herself as a defender of Europe's jobless in the run-up to a German election.
 
Merkel, whose insistence on spending cuts in return for aid during the euro crisis has made her a target of anger in recession-hit southern Europe, is hosting about 20 of her European colleagues to discuss ways to fight youth unemployment.
 
Critics have accused her of staging the event, from which no concrete decisions are expected, to soften her image as Europe's leading austerity advocate months before the Sept. 22 vote.
 
A few hundred protestors gathered in front of the Chancellery in central Berlin as the leaders arrived, waving banners with slogans like “Europe's Youth Needs More Than Merkel's Hot Air.”
 
Youths protest during a rally organized by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and labor unions outside the Chancellery, the venue of an EU summit on youth unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.Youths protest during a rally organized by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and labor unions outside the Chancellery, the venue of an EU summit on youth unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.
x
Youths protest during a rally organized by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and labor unions outside the Chancellery, the venue of an EU summit on youth unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.
Youths protest during a rally organized by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and labor unions outside the Chancellery, the venue of an EU summit on youth unemployment in Berlin, July 3, 2013.
“I don't trust our politicians,” said 31-year-old Spanish protester Rosa Donoso, who has come to Germany looking for work. “They're just talking, it's all 'blah blah blah'.”
 
An estimated 5.6 million young Europeans are unable to find work. Portugal, whose economy has been devastated by the crisis, is one of worst hit and cast a long shadow over the meeting.
 
Its government appears on the verge of collapse after several top ministers resigned in a row over spending cuts and tax hikes sought by European partners like Germany, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
 
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho was scheduled to attend and hold a news conference in Berlin.
 
On the eve of the meeting, Merkel gave an interview with several European newspapers, calling youth unemployment “perhaps the most pressing European problem”.
 
“We Germans have gathered plenty of experience through our own structural reforms since reunification and we want to share these experiences,” Merkel said of the meeting.
 
Benevolent Leader

European leaders agreed last week to disburse six billion euros in EU funds over the next two years for job creation, training and apprenticeships.
 
Merkel has said the goal of the meeting is to discuss “best practices” and decide where the money should go.
 
Leaders ranging from conservatives Mariano Rajoy of Spain and Antonis Samaras of Greece, to leftists Francois Hollande of France and Enrico Letta of Italy will attend.
 
In Portugal unemployment is at a record 17.7 percent, with 42 percent of young people out of work. In Greece and Spain youth jobless rates are close to 60 percent, fuelling fears of a “lost generation”.
 
David Lizoain, a 30-year-old Spaniard protesting in Berlin, called the summit a “photo opportunity” for Merkel.
 
“She is staging this to look like she is doing something but the amount that's on the table, six billion euros, translates to 1.60 euros per young person in Europe,” he said.
 
Merkel's main challenger, Peer Steinbrueck of the Social Democrats (SPD), said the EU had announced many initiatives on  unemployment “and now, just a few months before the German election, Mrs Merkel has invited people to a summit on it”.
 
The chancellor's response was “too late, too fainthearted and too vague”, said the center-left German candidate.
 
Carsten Nickel, an analyst Teneo Intelligence, said the meeting allowed Merkel to present herself as a “benevolent European leader to her domestic audience”.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9066
JPY
USD
123.75
GBP
USD
0.6394
CAD
USD
1.2954
INR
USD
63.904

Rates may not be current.