Youth jobs crisis danger to Europe – Schaeuble
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, while abandoning the continent's welfare model in favour of tougher US standards would cause "revolution".
Germany, along with France and Italy, backed urgent action to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not find jobs, with youth unemployment in the EU standing at nearly one in four, more than twice the adult rate.
"We need to be more successful in our fight against youth unemployment, otherwise we will lose the battle for Europe's unity," Mr Schaeuble said.
More than 60pc of Ireland's under 25-year-olds are jobless, as are nearly 40pc in Portugal. In Greece, youth unemployment shot to a record 64pc in February. In March 2013, the lowest youth unemployment rates were in Germany and Austria, both below 8pc, highlighting the wide disparities within the EU.
While Germany insists on the importance of budget consolidation, Mr Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe's welfare model.
If US welfare standards were introduced in Europe, "we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day", Mr Schaeuble told a conference in Paris.
"We have to rescue an entire generation of young people who are scared. We have the best-educated generation and we are putting them on hold. This is not acceptable," Italian Labour minister Enrico Giovannini said.
Germany in particular, weary of a backlash as many in crisis-hit European countries blame it for austerity, has over the past weeks taken steps to tackle unemployment, striking bilateral deals with Spain and Portugal. (Reuters)