News / Europe

EU Leaders Meet on Youth Jobs but Solutions Elusive

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives to attend a meeting with young people ahead of a European Union leaders conference to discuss ways of tackling youth unemployment at the Elysee palace in Paris, Nov. 12, 2013.
French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives to attend a meeting with young people ahead of a European Union leaders conference to discuss ways of tackling youth unemployment at the Elysee palace in Paris, Nov. 12, 2013.
Reuters
Soaring youth unemployment will top the agenda when France hosts a European jobs summit on Tuesday, but leaders will eschew radical proposals to tackle a problem that risks fueling social unrest and political extremism.

Nearly six million people under the age of 25 are without work in the European Union, with jobless rates among the young at close to 60 percent in Spain and Greece.

A July jobs summit in Berlin set out plans to devote at least 6 billion euros over the next two years to addressing the problem - a big headline figure that looks less impressive when spread among the many unemployment blackspots in the region.

French President Francois Hollande hosts a follow-up gathering of more than 20 EU leaders on Tuesday.

But with the leader of the euro zone's number two economy more unpopular than ever and bigger neighbor Germany still in political limbo following elections, conditions for advancing a potentially divisive debate could hardly be less favorable.

“The idea is to stay within what was set out in Berlin,” an adviser to Hollande said.

“The aim is not to add further programs but to fine-tune implementation of what has been decided,” the adviser said of measures that include a guarantee to provide a job or training opportunity for every youth unemployed for over four months.

That means the meeting is likely to skirt more controversial areas such as growing question marks over whether, given Germany's record trade surplus, Chancellor Angela Merkel is doing enough to nurture domestic demand and so help stimulate growth - and jobs - in the wider euro single currency zone.

Leaders are due to meet in the afternoon before a final news conference scheduled for 5:30 pm Paris time (1630 GMT).

Hollande has seen his popularity ratings plummet to a record low during France's 55-year-old Fifth Republic, with his failure to bring overall unemployment down from around 11 percent - and joblessness among youths from over double that - a major factor.

The French president has hitched his credibility on engineering a turnaround in the jobless trend by the end of the year, and increased state-funded jobs may help him create a short-term bounce.

But economists are skeptical on whether the underlying economy will allow any improvement to endure - a concern that applies equally to the spate of major infrastructure projects being overseen by many of Hollande's EU counterparts.

Worries over the ability of the French economy, weighed down by the need to finance high public spending, to generate sufficient growth was a factor behind ratings agency's move to downgrade France's sovereign debt for a second time last week.

The economy is forecast to have grown just 0.1 percent in the three months to September, though the Bank of France said on Tuesday it expected an improvement to 0.4 percent in the final quarter of 2013.

Germany in the spotlight ?

In a rare move to shine a critical spotlight on the policies of the larger German economy, the European Commission will decide this week whether to scrutinize Berlin's record surplus for economic imbalances.

International pressure has risen for Germany to do more to spur domestic demand, with criticism that its reliance on exports is hurting Europe's economic stability and the global economy.

Germany has so far brushed off the criticism, arguing it has more than halved its current account surplus with the euro zone as a share of gross domestic product since 2007.

Whether to introduce a minimum wage is one of the key sticking points in Merkel's talks to form a grand coalition with left-of-center Social Democrats who say the measure is a precondition for them entering government.

Concerns in France that some employees are being undercut on costs by countries with no minimum wage rules have been highlighted in recent weeks by a series of often violent protests in Brittany by food sector workers threatened by plant closures.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid