Commission calls on EU leaders to agree on practical measures to tackle youth unemployment and create a business-friendly environment for small companies.
Both young people and small businesses are drivers of economic growth, and that is why their concerns are on the table for discussion when EU leaders meet in Brussels on 27 and 28 June. The Commission’s proposals are now being sent to every EU leader and MEP.
Nearly 6 million people under 25 are currently out of work in Europe. In some countries, more than half of young people wanting to work are unemployed.
The Commission’s call to action on youth unemployment sets out new ideas on how to get young people into work, and urges governments to quickly put in place schemes already agreed – such as the Youth Guarantee.
Approved by ministers in April, the Youth Guarantee would see all young people offered a good job, apprenticeship, traineeship or continued education within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed.
The Commission is also asking regions where more than 25% of young people are unemployed to present plans detailing how the initiative will be implemented, who will be involved, who will pay for it and how it will be monitored.
Putting the Youth Guarantee in place would be easier for many regions if the €6 billion earmarked for tackling youth unemployment is available immediately, as the Commission is proposing, rather than spread over the EU’s next seven-year funding period.
The EU's EURES job portal already helps those seeking a job in another EU country by advertising vacancies and allowing job-seekers to upload their CV. The Your first EURES job initiative would provide the additional support needed by young people looking to move abroad for work by funding language courses and other training and travel expenses. The system is currently being tested in six countries.
Initiatives such as this will of course be more successful if there are jobs available. Creating the conditions in which small businesses can do well is one way of generating jobs – they currently account for around two thirds of private sector positions.
In 2012, the Commission asked small companies to identify the EU laws they find the most arduous. Many of the resulting ‘top 10’ list of burdensome laws have already been improved – small companies now have better access to public procurement, and product safety requirements have been simplified.
The Commission is hoping that agreement between EU leaders on these issues will renew momentum as Europe seeks to get its economy growing again.