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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8016
JPY
USD
117.76
GBP
USD
0.6340
CAD
USD
1.1268
INR
USD
61.850

Rates may not be current.