Business

Merkel warns on youth unemployment problem

Protesters in Berlin
Image caption Angela Merkel has been the subject of protesters' anger over Germany's support for austerity

Youth unemployment is "perhaps the most pressing European problem", German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, ahead of an EU meeting on the issue.

Ministers are meeting in Berlin to discuss measures to tackle unemployment among Europe's young people.

EU leaders have agreed to put spend 6bn euros ($7.8bn; £5.1bn) on the problem, but have not agreed on what measures the money will be spent.

Statistics suggest 23% of people under 25 are unemployed in Europe.

The rate is nearer 50% in Spain and Greece - countries that are among the worst affected by the eurozone economic crisis - while in Germany it is just 7.6%.

Mrs Merkel has been the target of anger in southern Europe, where austerity measures have been blamed for making the unemployment problem worse.

Germany has been among the strongest proponents of austerity reforms set as preconditions for international bailouts of struggling European economies.

The meeting in Berlin was in danger of being overshadowed by problems in Portugal, where austerity measures linked to its bailout package have caused public anger and threatened the stability of the coalition government.

No further pledges of funds are expected from the meeting.

Speaking to delegates, Ms Merkel said: "I don't think money is the problem right at the moment.

"The problem is, how do we want to earn our money in the future, how can we give your people an opportunity."

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