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EU seeks jobs for lost generation

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 02:05

June 27 - After Europe clinched two significant deals on banking and their long-term budget, EU leaders are meeting in Brussels, with unemployment top of the agenda. Joanna Partridge asks whether they have the tools at their disposal to make any difference.

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Lisbon grinds to a halt. In Portugal's fourth general strike in two years, public transport stopped and people took to the streets. They blame the government's cuts and tax hikes for an economic slump and record unemployment. SOUNDBITE: RICARDO SILVA, MEMBER OF "PRECARIOUS AND UNFLEXIBLE" SOCIAL MOVEMENT, SAYING (Portuguese): "We're demanding a different policy in our national politics, not only at the national level but also internationally, and an end to the belief that austerity is an inevitable path." Unemployment is also on EU leaders' minds in Brussels - almost one in four under 25s are out of work. It's a concern forAngela Merkel even though German unemployment has fallen close to its lowest level in 20 years SOUNDBITE: GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING (German): "There's no getting away from it, we have to do more to help young people enter working life. We have to give them chances for the future, because they are our future. We owe that to the young people of Europe and especially so because the youth aren't in any way responsible for the failings which occurred in the past few years." The leaders started their meeting on a high after European officials mananged to strike two significant deals - on banking and their long-term budget. That left boosting unemployment and all too elusive growth as the main topics. Francois Hollande is French President. SOUNDBITE: FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING (French): "When there's growth, youth employment and control of finance, France is satisfied." This is the last leaders' summit before Germans go to the polls in September - a key date in Europe's political calendar. Major disagreements aren't expected. They're all in favour of tackling joblessness - regarded by many as the worst legacy of the crisis. From 2014 they've allocated a billion euros a year to ensuring under 25s get either a job, training or an apprenticeship within 4 months of leaving education or work. But without more concrete measures to create jobs many young people in countries like Portugal will continue to look abroad to avoid becoming part of the "lost generation."

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EU seeks jobs for lost generation

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 02:05