It’s “Europe’s greatest pain.” And finally European leaders are going to do something about it.
The problem at issue here is youth unemployment, the solution something called the “New Deal for Europe.” Sascha Lehnartz’s on-line piece for Die Welt is topped by a self-congratulatory photo of France President Hollande shaking the hand of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (sitting down not out of disrespect, but because he is confined to a wheelchair), with related Euro-dignitaries beaming just behind.
Look closer, though: that august assemblage gathered at the famed Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) merely to start a discussion. Yes, there is some sort of intention on the part of the German and French governments to put forward a policy proposal. This is largely due to President Hollande, who at that meeting – under the motto “Europe – The Next Steps” – called for “urgent action,” considering economic growth throughout the continent averages out at present to quasi Null, i.e. basically zero. Chancellor Merkel herself and Hollande will discuss the youth unemployment issue further tomorrow (Thursday, 30 May), with a view towards presenting proposals to the EU Council meeting scheduled for 27 June, with a follow-up conference of EU labor ministers in Berlin on July 3.
So that’s about the only “substance” there is to this thing now. But no worries, they have the grandiose buzzwords already picked out.
UPDATE: Luckily, maybe all this does not matter. Yes: maybe this “youth unemployment” really just does not matter. Daniel Gros, of the Center for European Policy Studies, makes that rather iconoclastic argument here, in English.