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Youth unemployment: EU Commission wants stronger action to get young people into work
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06/12/2012 00:00:00

New measures to help tackle unacceptable levels of youth unemployment have been proposed today by the European Commission. They build on tried and tested models from Finland, Sweden and Austria and include a “Youth Guarantee” which would give under-25s a guarantee of quality work, training or education within 4 months of leaving school or losing a job.

    Youth unemployment: EU Commission wants stronger action to get young people into work

    One in three 16-24 year olds in Ireland are out of work and this mirrors the similar picture for young people across much of Europe. The economic cost of not integrating young people into labour market has been estimated by Eurofound (an EU research body based in Dublin) at over €150 billion per year, or 1.2% of EU GDP. For Ireland this amounts to around 2% of GDP. This cost far outweighs the fiscal costs of the proposed Youth Guarantee.                

    "High youth unemployment has dramatic consequences for our economies, our societies and above all for young people. This is why we have to invest in Europe's young people now" said European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor. "This Package would help Member States to ensure young people's successful transition into work. The costs of not doing so would be catastrophic”.

    If accepted by MEPs and EU Employment Ministers, the implementation of the Recommendation on the ground will be monitored by the Commission.

    For Q&A go to: MEMO/12/938
                                                                      
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    The Commission's Youth Employment Package focuses on ways to smooth the transition between school and work. It includes a recommendation calling on Member States to introduce the so-called ‘Youth Guarantee’. This scheme aims to ensure that within four months of leaving school or losing a job, all young people up to the age of 25 would receive a quality offer of employment, continued education opportunities, an apprenticeship or a traineeship.

    The proposed recommendation urges Member States to establish strong partnerships with stakeholders, ensure early intervention by employment services, take supportive measures to enable labour integration, and to fully harness the European Social Fund and other available EU funding schemes. 

    Complementing action by the Irish Government such as ‘Pathways to Work’, the Package also launches a consultation of European social partners on a Quality Framework for Traineeships and announces a European Alliance for Apprenticeships. This would offer a forum for sharing best practice from apprenticeship programmes in other EU countries, such as the tried and tested models successfully established in Austria and Finland.

    Some 5.5 million young people on the European labour market (more than 1 in 5) cannot find a job, and 7.5 million young people aged 15-24 are NEETs - not in employment, education or training. The economic cost of not integrating young people into labour market has been estimated by Eurofound at over €150 billion per year, or 1.2% of EU GDP. For Ireland this amounts to around 2% of GDP. Avoiding these economic costs now and in the future outweighs by far the fiscal costs of the proposed Youth Guarantee.

    Background

    The youth unemployment rate has reached more than 25% in 13 EU Member States, with Greece and Spain experiencing rates of over 55% and Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary and Slovakia with rates around or above 30%. More than 30% of unemployed people under 25 have been unemployed for more than 12 months – 1.6 million in 2011, compared to 0.9 million in 2008. .

    The proposed measures in the Youth Employment Package build on the actions of the 'Youth Opportunities Initiative', launched in December 2011. With the help of Commission Action Teams, the eight Member States with the highest youth unemployment rates, including Ireland, are re-allocating EU structural funds to boost youth employment, develop youth jobs plans and step up education and training programmes.

    More information
    Youth Employment Page

    Related Links

    • For more information, Jeanette Thornton, European Commission Office in Northern Ireland, Tel: 028 9024 0708, Email: jeanette.thornton@ec.europa.eu

    Last update: 07/12/2012  |Top