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European ministers take sobering look at social impact of crisis

Published on Apr 2, 2014 3:33 AM

ATHENS (REUTERS) - The economic crisis in Europe has put 6 million people out of work and driven others into poverty, according to a think-tank study looking into the social impact of the slump that was examined by EU finance ministers for the first time on Tuesday.

As host, Greece, the first euro zone country to be bailed out during the crisis, put it on the agenda of the regular meeting of EU finance ministers that has more usually focused on appeasing financial markets with tough spending reforms.

The meeting was taking place a short distance from Syntagma Square, the focus of often violent clashes over austerity measures imposed under the country's bailout, although protests had been banned for this meeting.

After six years of recession that many blame on international lenders such as euro zone heavyweight Germany for exacerbating tax hikes and spending cuts, about a quarter of Greeks are jobless, including over half of those aged under 25.

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