Germany sees "revolution" if welfare model scrapped

Tue May 28, 2013 8:26am EDT
 
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By Ingrid Melander and Nicholas Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Tuesday that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, while abandoning the continent's welfare model in favour of tougher U.S. 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," Schaeuble said.

While Germany insists on the importance of budget consolidation, Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe's welfare model.

If U.S. welfare standards were introduced in Europe, "we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day," 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.

German ministers told the conference that, to help young people find jobs, Europe must continue on the path of structural reforms to boost its competitiveness as well as make good use of available EU funds, including 6 billion euros that leaders have set aside for youth employment for 2014-20.   Continued...

 
Alessandro Contini of Italy works in the office of the HowDo, a "how-to-do-it-yourself" app,start-up company at the Wostel co-working space in Berlin March 18, 2013. Europe must urgently tackle youth unemployment, the French, German and Italian governments said May 28, 2013, urging action to rescue an entire generation who fear they will not find jobs. Some 7.5 million Europeans aged 15-24 are neither in employment nor in education or training, according to EU data. Youth unemployment in the EU stood at 23.6 percent in January, more than twice as high as the adult rate. Picture taken March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter