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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora