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GERMANY

Italians top Germany jobless benefits ranking

Italy has a total of 66,458 citizens on jobless benefits in Germany – higher than the EU’s ten Eastern European members as well as the crisis-hit nations of Portugal, Greece and Spain.

Italians top Germany jobless benefits ranking
Demonstrators protest against EU-wide youth unemployment in Berlin last year. Photo: DPA

More migrants from countries hit by the Euro crisis and from Eastern Europe are receiving German Hartz IV payments than ever before, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Tuesday.

In April this group topped 300,000 for the first time – a rise of 21.6 percent over the same month last year. The paper cited as yet unpublished figures from Germany’s Federal Labour Office (BfA).

Just under 4.5 million people receive jobless benefits in Germany.

The paper looked at 14 EU countries – the ten Eastern European members as well as crisis nations Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain. Italy had the highest number of citizens on jobless benefits – with a total of 66,458 – closely followed by Poland, Greece and Bulgaria.

SEE ALSO: Italians flock to become German citizens

The German government plans move to tighten rules for EU immigrants in the next legislative period.

Harsher punishments are being considered for those found abusing the German benefits system – including expelling people from the country in extreme cases and refusing them re-entry.

Other new rules may include limiting EU citizens to a six month initial stay in Germany to search for work, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said on Tuesday.

The figures come two months after the advocate general of the European Court of Justice suggested Germany would be allowed to reject applications for Hartz IV from foreigners from other EU countries to prevent abuse of the system and “welfare tourism” in an ongoing court case.

However statistics released in honour of World Youth Day show that unemployment amongst workers under 25 is lowest in Germany at 7.8 percent. These are the lowest figures the BfA has ever recorded.

"This is a testament to the dual vocational training system," said BfA chairman Frank-J. Weise. "It eases the transition for young people into their working years and is a solid foundation for their career path."

The European-wide youth unemployment is at 22.2 percent.

Youth are hardest pressed in Greece and Spain, with unemployment in those countries in the under 25 population topping 50 percent. Still, the current youth unemployment rate in the EU has improved by more than eight percent.  

This article originally appeared on The Local Germany.

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GERMANY

Germany returns Ancient Roman bust to Italy

The marble bust of a Roman youth was returned to Italy this week for the first time since it was smuggled out over 50 years ago.

Germany returns Ancient Roman bust to Italy
The Roman head returned to Italy this week. Photo: Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali

The ancient sculpture, which disappeared from Italy sometime between 1944 and the early 1960s, was handed back to the Italian Ministry of Culture in a ceremony at the German ambassador's residence on Wednesday. 

READ ALSO: Ancient marble head of god Dionysus discovered under Rome

First unearthed in the 1930s in the city of Fondi between Rome and Naples, it dates from the second century AD and depicts the head and part of the shoulders of a young man.

It has spent the past 55 years in the University of Munster's Archaeological Museum, whose then director acquired it from a private citizen.


Photo: Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali (MiBAC)

Germany offered to return it without being asked, according to Italy's culture minister.

“This is a highly symbolic act,” said Alberto Bonisoli, who described it as a sign of the two countries' shared commitment to protecting cultural heritage.

“Italy is not only in the position of reclaiming stolen works of art, but when circumstances demand it, we're among the first to return works belonging to other countries' cultural heritage,” the minister declared.

READ ALSO: 

With centuries of art and artefacts strewn all over Italy, many pieces have been lost over the years to thieves, traffickers and natural disasters. Italian police are some of the world's best at hunting down stolen works, with a specialized unit known as the 'Art Squad' devoted to tracking and protecting lost treasures.

But the new owners aren't always keen to give them back. Among the most notable disputes is Italy's ongoing tussle with the Getty Museum in the United States over the Statue of a Victorious Youth – better known as the Getty Bronze – which the American institution refuses to return despite a ruling by Italy's highest court that it was removed from Italy illegally.

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