For the first time, heads of state and government have come to berlin together with the labor ministers and the heads of the employment agencies of the other 27 EU countries.
Merkel urged labor market reforms in other EU countries, among other things. It is “not wise, for example, if labor laws in some countries are only flexible for young people, but not for older people who have been working for a long time”. More mobility is also needed in europe.
The aim of the conference is to exchange experiences on tried-and-tested concepts for reducing youth unemployment. Six billion euros are immediately available for a youth guarantee. In europe, around 5.5 million young people are currently unemployed, most of them in the southern EU member states.
The chairman of the german trade union federation, michael sommer, sees the high youth unemployment rate as an “oath of revelation for europe”s heads of state and government”. He called on her to act: “the time for fine words and declarations of intent is over.”
What is needed, he says, are job creation measures, wage subsidies for young employees and measures to combat the credit crunch for small businesses. "Six billion euros spread over two years – that means not even ten euros a week for each person concerned," criticized the head of the DGB, referring to the agreement reached at the EU summit at the end of june. The trade unions had invited people to a counter-event to the summit meeting in the chancellor"s office.
The chairman of the trade union IG bauen-agrar-umwelt (IG BAU), klaus wiesehugel, considers the conference to be of little help: the dual training system praised by germany as an export hit cannot simply be transferred to other countries: "I estimate that it will take almost ten years before a comparable system is established in a country," wiesehugel said on NDR radio. He is also a member of SPD chancellor candidate peer steinbruck’s campaign team.