Europe must not drop its welfare model in favor of US standards or it will spark a revolution "not tomorrow but the same day," Germany's Finance Minister warned on Tuesday.
Speaking at a conference in Paris, Wolfgang Schäuble was joined by other German, French and Italian ministers in issuing warning calls over the soaring unemployment plaguing nearly six million European youths, and that threatens an "entire generation of people" and risks losing "the battle for Europe's unity."
Warning of "catastrophe," Schäuble said, "We need to be more successful in our fight against youth unemployment; otherwise, we will lose the battle for Europe's unity."
While Germany insists on the importance of budget consolidation, Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe's welfare model.
If U.S. welfare standards were introduced in Europe, "we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day," Schaeuble told a conference in Paris.
"We have to rescue an entire generation of young people who are scared. We have the best-educated generation and we are putting them on hold. This is not acceptable," added Italian Labor Minister Enrico Giovannini.
French president François Hollande, also at the conference, said “We need to act quickly” on youth unemployment.
"Remember the postwar generation, my generation. Europe showed us and gave us the support we needed, the hope we cherished. The hopes that we could get a job after finishing school, and succeed in life," said Hollande. "Can we be responsible for depriving today's young generation of this kind of hope?"
"Imagine all of the hatred, the anger, it's not anger that we're talking about in fact, it goes more than that. We're talking about a complete breakdown of identifying with Europe.
"What's really at stake here is not just 'let's punish those in power,' no. Citizens are turning their backs on Europe and the construction of the European project," said Hollande.
The New York Times adds:
Werner Heyer, head of the European Investment Bank, said the deepening youth unemployment crisis, alongside obstacles to cross-border lending within the euro zone, represented the region’s two “megaproblems.” But he cautioned that politicians would be mistaken if they believed that the European bank’s resources alone would be enough to solve the unemployment problem.
“Such expectations of the bank are beyond the horizon,” Mr. Heyer said. “There is no quick fix; there is no grand plan.”