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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.