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EU finance ministers discuss ways to boost growth

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, left, and Germany's Central Bank Governor Dr. Jens Weidmann talk during the Informal Meeting of ECOFIN Ministers in Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, April 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

DUBLIN (AP) -- European Union finance ministers are discussing ways to increase growth and create jobs at a time when, across the EU, economies remain stubbornly stagnant and unemployment persists at levels routinely described as unacceptable.

On his way into the meeting in Dublin Castle on Saturday, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the ministers would focus particularly on unemployment among young people, which in some countries has reached 50 percent. Because Ireland currently holds the EU's rotating six-month presidency, Noonan is chairing the meeting.

Noonan said the finance ministers would also discuss ways to open access to funding to businesses from markets rather than banks, as he said is common in the United States. This is important, he said, as many small and medium-sized businesses in the EU lack access to capital.