Labor Minister Andrea Nahles intends to use EU funds to create thousands of jobs for disadvantaged people in Germany. Nahles launched the new scheme with EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen in Berlin on Monday.
Nahles' plan, which will use 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) from the European Social Fund (ESF) plus 4.3 billion euros from within Germany, involves the creation of 26 programs in the country until 2020. Almost 40 percent of the money will be invested in "the promotion of social integration and the battle against poverty," the Labor Ministry said Monday.
The money will be used to help 73,000 long-term unemployed people, 150,000 migrants, and around 100,000 young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to get the qualifications they need to find work.
According to the latest figures from Germany's Federal Statistics Office, some 3.1 million Germans live below the poverty line despite having work.
Nahles was at pains to insist that the financial injection would not siphon off resources meant for weaker European economies. "I can rule out that we are taking anything from anywhere else," she said at a press conference. "There are enough funds to use for Greece against youth unemployment."
Thyssen took the opportunity to praise Germany's labor reforms over the past decade, but Nahles warned that many people were being left behind. "The dynamic movement on the job market isn't automatically taking everyone with it," she said.
The ESF was created in 1957 to reinforce social and economic cooperation within the EU.
bk/hg (AFP, dpa)