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German Chancellor Merkel holds economic reform conference

July 3, 2013

The European Union's ongoing economic crisis recently compounded with the announcement of record unemployment - 12.1 percent  - in the euro zone. Certain nations, such as Spain and Greece, are experiencing even higher jobless rates among the youth, exceeding 50 percent. Europeans concerned over the issue are likely to discuss it in conversations with foreign friends using international calling cards.

In an effort to address these and other economic concerns, Reuters reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a summit in Berlin on July 3 with about 20 fellow EU leaders. Speaking at a press conference the previous evening, Merkel cited Germany's past economic difficulties as contextually relevant to the current issue.

"We Germans have gathered plenty of experience through our own structural reforms since reunification and we want to share these experiences," Merkel said, according to the news source. 

Although the Chancellor has recently named youth unemployment as one of the nation's - and the EU's - biggest problems, she is the target of significant criticism due to her prior hard-line stance on spending cuts and other austerity measures during earlier months of the debt crisis. Several hundred protesters surrounded the Chancellery during the event, waving signs and shouting slogans accusing Merkel of doing little more than paying lip service to concerns over unemployment. 

The Associated Press reported that Merkel characterized the allocation of funds toward job creation as being less important than reform programs. She again emphasized her focus on the necessity of public spending cuts and more flexible labor markets, as well as the need to provide loans to small businesses. Additionally, Merkel stated that it would be wise for companies to be open to the idea of having mobile work forces.

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