Eurozone's big four to tackle joblessness

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Photo: Daniel Roland/AFP
09:11 CEST+02:00
Italy, France, Germany and Spain's labour and economy ministers will meet on June 14th in Rome for talks on unemployment which will focus particularly on jobless youth, Italy said on Wednesday.

"This meeting, the first of its kind, will allow an exchange of opinions and facilitate coordination ahead of the next international meetings," such as the European Councils of June 27th and 28th, the government said in a statement.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta hopes the talks will help "define a European employment policy", it said.

The eurozone unemployment rate hit a fresh record high of 12.2 percent in April, with 19.2 million people on the dole as recession continued to sap the economy.

In Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, youth unemployment rose to 40.5 percent, with an estimated 656,000 Italians aged 15 to 24 looking for a job.

In Greece, two out of three youngsters were without jobs, one out of two in Spain and two out of five in Portugal.

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"The meeting with the eurozone's four bigs... is based on an awareness that a rapid improvement in the job market is indispensable to relaunching European economic growth," the government said.

Themes on the table will include "how to strengthen coordination between financial and labour policies at a national and European level, to boost the fight against unemployment, particularly among the young."

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