Eighteen heads of state and government, 28 labour ministers, along with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. In bringing so many political leaders to Berlin for a conference on European youth unemployment on July 3, the German Chancellor wanted to “clearly express that Germany is not indifferent to the social disaster that is taking place in crisis stricken countries,” remarks Die Welt. However, the daily warns —
Rapid success in the drive to combat mass unemployment is impossible. […] New jobs are not created by decree, but by the economy when conditions are favourable to growth. Each country must therefore find its own way to overcome the crisis. […] But what is crucial to employment in southern Europe is that structures that inhibit the economy must be broken up.
In Spain, La Vanguardia welcomes what it terms a “major boost” to youth employment. The Barcelona daily points out that the budget to bring more young people into the workplace has risen —
… from the €8bn agreed by Brussels on June 28 to €24bn, which, according to Germany, could be deployed over the next two years. Several initiatives to combat youth unemployment, which has become the number one priority in Europe, are now underway. Following yesterday’s event, a further summit will take place in Paris in August, and Berlin has pledged to present more concrete measures in the autumn. In the forthcoming summits, the emphasis may shift away from the financial resources needed to address the problem to other questions, such as mobility in the framework of the European labour market and the "exchange of good practice," which should enable countries in difficulty to seek inspiration from countries with more efficient labour markets. All of this is just the beginning.
For Diário Económico columnist Ricardo Francisco, these incentives to fight the youth unemployment are just a big distraction –
The magnanimous European institutions proceed with an additional budget to tackle youth unemployment. […] Why is it that young people, especially in the southern countries of Europe have so much trouble finding a first job? Is it because these measures were missing? No. The youngsters find a work system designed to protect those who already have jobs. […] The southern European countries, particularly Portugal, ask for subsidies instead changing the labour market to make it more flexible. […] When governments, business and youth groups stop celebrating this "measures" package, the bill will remain, and nothing will have been solved – despite all applause the spectacle is receiving.