There was cautious optimism from economic leaders gathered in Berlin as Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted her eco-klatch, an annual event to appraise where we are and where we are going.
Taking part were the heads of the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation.
All spoke of a global economy that is getting better – slowly – but still strugging with the effects of the crisis and with big challenges ahead .. like youth unemployment:
Guy Ryder from the International Labour Organisation said: “The situation is actually not bringing improvement. Global unemployment is continuing to rise. It’s at record levels already, this is despite continued economic performance, and with… the labour force growing by about 40 million every year, we clearly have a major problem around jobs in the future.”
Ryder praised Germany, which has one of the lowest jobless rates in Europe, and said education is key, as well as governments talking with employers and trade unions.
The OECD’s Angle Gurria stressed the need for structural change and innovation, to address an improving but challenging situation which includes growing inequalities and a loss of trust.
At the post-gathering news conference participants said little about the potential economic effects of the Ukraine crisis with Lagarde refering obliquely to “geopolitical risks in the heart of Europe” but she has also warned in interviews that it could have severe economic consequences for other countries.