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EU ministers fail to agree key economic reforms

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels

There can be no doubt that the EU's next generation face an uncertain future. Youth unemployment levels in several of the bloc's 28 nations have never recovered from the 2008 economic crash. 

EU finance ministers have just concluded two days of talks here in Brussels. They failed to agree on key economic reforms. These include the bloc's bailout fund known as the European Stability Mechanism and also the EU Banking Union.

The ministers recognize that Brexit threatens the EU economy but the biggest cause for concern relates to President Donald Trump's aggressive trade policies. Aside from direct confrontation with respect to EU-US trade, Trump's administration is also doing all it can to destroy trade between the EU and key markets such as Russia and Iran. In this context it appears the EU hasn't totally given up on saving the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal. 

Data published within the last fortnight from Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, shows that, in the bloc as a whole, social protection expenditure has gone down as government's continue to pursue austerity policies dictated by the European Commission. 

There is a direct link, according to social rights activists, between the failure of EU leaders to sort out the eurozone unemployment crisis and the rapid spread of eurosceptic politics across the bloc. They say this trend is undermining the EU's credibility and threatens its ability to survive.

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