Obama warns against `losing` jobless generation
Berlin: US President Barack Obama said soaring youth unemployment called for a different tack to avoid "losing" a generation, after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday that touched on the eurozone crisis.
Obama told a joint news conference with Merkel -- who with other European leaders is racing to tackle high youth unemployment in some EU countries -- that the goal of making the "lives of people better" must be kept in sight.
"All of us have to focus on growth and we have to make sure that in pursuit of our longer policies, whether it is fiscal consolidation or reforms of our overly rigid labour markets or our pensions ... that we don`t lose sight of our main goal which is to make lives of people better," Obama said.
"If, for example, we start to see youth unemployment going too high, at some point we have got to modulate our approach to ensure that we don`t just lose a generation that may never recover," he added.
Europe`s highest youth jobless rates are in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece, reflecting how young people are paying the price for recession and tough reforms imposed to restructure economies and reduce debt.
Merkel again reiterated Germany`s stance on the need for budgetary consolidation Wednesday, but she also insisted on the importance of economic growth.