MESEBERG, Germany (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the full integration of Europe’s labor market on Tuesday, saying that moving where jobs were available should be made easier.
“If you see how unequal the search for skilled labor is on the one side in Germany and high unemployment in other countries, then the framework for being able to move freely must be improved,” Merkel said after meeting with representatives of industry and labor unions.
While Germany’s unemployment is at post-unification record lows, other countries in the euro zone are suffering from recession and sky-high unemployment rates, as high as 24.4 percent in Spain, where joblessness among the young is even 50 percent.
Merkel has said repeatedly that her answer to the euro zone’s debt crisis was “more Europe, not less”.
Merkel signaled, however, she had reservations about an American-style points system for immigration, something union representatives have called for, to make it easier for skilled workers to get working permits.
Germany needs to make up for the shortage of skilled labor, which is only going to increase as Germany’s population of more than 80 million ages. The Federal Labour Agency estimates that Europe’s largest economy will be three million people short to fill its jobs by 2025.
Reporting by Gernot Heller, writing by Annika Breidthardt, editing by Michael Roddy