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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU ministers adopt Green proposals to get youngsters into work or training

EMPLOYMENT ministers from across the EU have backed Green Party proposals to tackle youth unemployment by guaranteeing a job or training for every young person after four months on the dole.

The so-called ‘Youth Guarantee’ was adopted by the Council of Ministers(1) this week – meaning the plan has now won the support of all three main EU bodies – Parliament, European Commission and the Council of Ministers. Now the guarantee will be enacted individually by member states across the EU, with the help of cash from the European Social Fund.

London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert, a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, welcomed the decision.

She said: “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 Governments from across Europe 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.”

The ‘Youth Guarantee’ adopted by Ministers builds on Green proposals – and successful schemes already up and running in Finland, Sweden and Austria.

Ms Lambert added: “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.

Figures show the problem is getting worse due to the economic crises currently affecting the EU, with insecure forms of employment, short-term and part-time contracts and unpaid work placement schemes often replacing existing jobs.