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 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.