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"We saved the banks but are running the risk of losing a generation"

Senior European politician warns of the damage caused by unemployment.

Martin Schulz, at a press conference on 12 February. (Photo: Getty.)

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has warned that not enough has been done to tackle Europe's social crisis, in an interview with Reuters. According to Schulz, the huge rise in youth unemployment threatens the European political project itself:

One of the biggest threats to the European Union is that people entirely lose their confidence in the capacity of the EU to solve their problems. And if the younger generation is losing trust, then in my eyes the European Union is in real danger.

Schulz, a German socialist who has led the European parliament since last year, indicated that rescuing the banks had come at a cost, particularly to the economies of southern Europe:

If we have 700 billion euros to stabilise the banking system, we must have at least as much money to stabilise the young generation in such countries.

EU leaders have announced an initiative to tackle youth unemployment in the worst-hit regions - worth 6 billion euros.