Dozens of anti-Merkel demonstrators clashed with riot police in the streets of Milan following a rally to protest against the precarious work situation and economy instability in Italy outside the venue where Angela Merkel is attending a European Union summit on jobs and growth, Wednesday, liveleak.com informed. Several thousand union activists also rallied outside the summit, demanding the Italian government put an end to austerity policies and calling for reforms.
European leaders are set to debate ways to stimulate financial growth and find work for the continent’s 25 million unemployed during the summit. This comes as European countries witness growing unemployment, first fueled by the global recession and the continent’s debt crisis.
According to BBC, expectations are low. The meeting is very much the idea of the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, wanting to demonstrate to a domestic audience that he is at the forefront of the struggle to cut Europe’s unemployment numbers.
Even as the leaders discuss how to boost growth, what will be impossible to disguise are the deep divisions within the eurozone – and that is Europe’s central drama this autumn.
Germany has proudly announced that it is running a balanced budget. In contrast France and Italy are not just struggling with their budgets; they are threatening to flout the EU’s budget rules. “France makes its own rules,” says its Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The European Commission may well challenge that assertion.
Let’s take the case of Italy. It has torn up its own forecasts. Growth this year will be -0.3%, compared with a predicted figure of 0.8%. Growth next year will be a tepid 0.6%.
Italy’s level of industrial production has fallen by a quarter in the past six years. Unemployment remains stubbornly high at near 12%. Its budget deficit is increasing, although the government says it will stay under 3%.