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Protests as EU leaders talk unemployment

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 - 01:47

Hundreds of people have protested against Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plans to reform hiring-and-firing rules. As Melanie Ralph reports EU leaders have also been meeting in Milan to discuss the problem of the euro zone's 18 million unemployed.

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These demonstrators have had enough. They think it's time to tackle Europe's unemployment problems. The protest took place in Milan as some of Europe's top officials attended a conference on jobs and (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) DEMONSTRATOR WALTER GELLI SAYING: "In other countries, there is legislation for people who lose their jobs without just cause; they also have a social network that we can't even begin to imagine." Italy's Prime minister Matteo Renzi called the meeting with eye to reforming hiring and firing rules. Youth unemployment is at a staggering 44 percent in Italy. GRAPHIC Greece has the worst overall unemployment rate in the euro zone at over 27 percent. Spain follows close behind. Then Italy. For Renzi, making the labour market more flexible for employers is key. That's also an issue in France. President Hollande accepts more needs to be done. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "Six billion euros have been committed for two years in the European community, it is too little, it needs to go up to 20 billion to broaden the procedures and then also focus on an investment plan that needs to be put into force as soon as the next commission takes office." But it's the third time Europe's leaders have got together to discuss jobs and still 18 million people are out of work. IG's Alastair McCaig says they should take a leaf out of Britain's book. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG MARKET COMMENTATOR, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "We have sort of changed our mindset away from permanent jobs to more contract orientated employment enabling us to have a relatively healthy unemployment level. This is something that hasn't really translated itself into the euro zone and certainly a change in mentality over there would certainly help a change in sentiment." More flexible employment rules are a political hot potato, many voters would rather see job protection. But without change some say the current lost generation could even extend into the next one.

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Protests as EU leaders talk unemployment

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 - 01:47