GREEN Group proposals to help tackle rising youth unemployment across Europe by guaranteeing a job or training opportunity for every young person after four months on the dole have been fully supported by the European Parliament.
The ‘Youth Guarantee’ put forward by the Commission builds on Green proposals. Today’s overwhelming vote in the Parliament urges national governments to get on board and get the scheme working.
London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert, a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “Youth unemployment often results in permanent scars, such as increased risk of future unemployment and permanent social exclusion.
“The costs to society as a whole are huge too: it is estimated that 1.2% of European GDP – approximately €153bn annually – is spent on tackling the EU’s 7.5 million NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training).”
Figures considered today by the European Parliament put total unemployment across the EU at 10.7% in October 2012, but put the rate at 23.4% for young people under 26.
MEPs heard the problem was worsening due to the economic crises currently affecting the EU, with insecure forms of employment, short-term and par-time contracts and unpaid work placement schemes often replacing existing jobs.
The so-called ‘Youth Guarantee’ will need to adopted by the European Council and then be implemented separately by each EU member state – including the UK – but it is hoped all 27 nations will commit to doing so at an EU meeting next month.
The resolution adopted by the parliament today also calls for European Social Fund cash to be made available so EU countries facing severe financial difficulties can implement the guarantee – and for all EU states to improve education and training standards for young people.
Ms Lambert added: “Tackling unemployment sustainably, and reducing the welfare and social costs associated with it, mean stepping up our efforts to tackle youth unemployment.
“I am delighted that MEPs from across the political spectrum have supported this Green initiative, and I look forward to seeing it turned into a reality, not just here in the UK but across the EU, and unemployment falling accordingly.”