EU leaders pledge to stimulate growth, create jobs

January 30, 2012 - 4:15 PM
Belgium Europe Financial Crisis

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, and Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti speak together prior to a meeting at the European Council in Brussels ahead of the European Union leaders summit, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. European leaders were trying Monday to come up with ways to boost economic growth and jobs, which are being squeezed by their own governments' steep budget cuts across the continent. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, pool) FRANCE MAGS OUT

BRUSSELS (AP) — In a tacit acknowledgment that their exclusive focus on austerity has had painful side effects, European leaders have promised to stimulate growth and create jobs.

Heads of European state and government meeting in Brussels on Monday pledged to offer more training for young people to ease their transition to the work force, deploy unused development funds to create jobs, reduce barriers to doing business across the EU's 27 countries, and ensure that small businesses have access to credit. But they did not offer any new financial stimulus.

Over the course of Europe's two-year debt crisis, leaders have repeatedly tried to reassure investors by pledging to cut spending and reduce their deficits. But those austerity measures have hurt growth, and Europe is now facing a new recession.