European Union labour ministers met in Berlin on Wednesday (July 3) ahead of a scheduled mini-summit on youth unemployment hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her labour minister, Ursula von der Leyen.

The summit comes while Portugal's political crisis, which threatens to upset its economic recovery from the euro zone debt crisis, has cast a shadow over the one-day meeting.

Unemployment in the euro zone as a whole stands at a record high of over 12 percent and there are fears of a "lost generation" in Portugal and other struggling countries such as Spain and Greece.

Merkel has spent most of the euro zone crisis insisting over-indebted states cut public spending. Now, just ahead of her re-election bid in September, she is trying to rebrand herself as saviour of Europe's jobless as well as its public finances.

Later on Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, among other EU leaders, are scheduled to meet before they are expected to hold a news conference.

Presented by Adam Justice