Amsterdam summit: Europe's new order takes shape

Germany and France settle row over jobs

France and Germany yesterday patched up their differences over how to ensure the single currency creates new jobs, but the deal is unlikely to offer new hope to Europe's 18 million unemployed.

During the hard bargaining which produced the agreement at yesterday's Amsterdam summit, it was France, which had demanded new spending to spur growth, which gave ground, while Germany refused to dilute fiscal austerity measures.

The deal, based on a new resolution on jobs and growth, demonstrates that Europe's leaders now recognise the importance of job creation. At the weekend 30,000 unemployed protesters brought their demands to the streets of Amsterdam. The deal also allows European Union leaders to sign the crucial framework of rules for running monetary union known as the stability pact, thereby claiming that the euro is once again back on track.

Yesterday's moves are to be followed up by a special "summit for jobs" in October. This will help leaders argue that unity of purpose has been restored. Britain is committed to putting job creation at the top of its agenda when it takes over the EU presidency in January.

Tony Blair, who backed Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor, during the jobs debate, argued that the agreed resolution reflected several British priorities on job creation, by emphasising the general objective of achieving flexible job markets and "employability".

However, the new jobs and growth resolution, though strong on promises to share experiences and look at good practices, offers little in the way of concrete new ideas to tackle the unemployment crisis.

The European Investment Bank, Europe's long-term investment house, has been invited to use its role more effectively by lending to small businesses, as well as EU projects in areas of education, health care, the environment and transport networks. However, the resolution contains no suggestion that new money can be used to promote investment, as France had hoped.

Lionel Jospin, the French Prime Minister, wanted a new political body to be formed which would set economic priorities, as a counter-weight to the monetary policies pursued by the European Central Bank.

The final deal reaffirms that the EU must be committed to economic as well as monetary priorities, but falls short of signalling creation of an economic government to enforce those commitments. In the weeks and months ahead it remains doubtful whether Mr Jospin will be able to sell the agreement to the French people.

Despite the declarations of new will to proceed towards the January 1999 deadline for Economic and Monetary Union, it also remains doubtful whether the agreement will prove to be anything but a temporary fig leaf used to hide the rift which has opened up between France and Germany over euro zone priorities.

The jobs row erupted after Mr Jospin's election and swiftly escalated into the most serious conflict yet to hit planning for the single currency. Mr Jospin was elected on a pledge to create 700,000 jobs in France and to re-balance Europe's single currency rules in order to promote greater emphasis on a "social Europe" and growth.

However, the French objectives set him on a collision course with Mr Kohl, who was determined to resist any moves which would involve more public spending to promote growth, or which might weaken the euro's economic criteria or stability pact.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
filmCritic Kaleem Aftab picks his favourites for Halloween
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes