Parliament: Systemic reforms against structural unemployment
By Sophie Petitjean | Thursday 24 May 2012
The European Parliament is considering the effectiveness of EU initiatives to fight youth unemployment. In a non-legislative resolution, adopted on 24 May, MEPs expressed «serious doubts as to whether the scale of the actions proposed [by the European Commission initiative on youth employment outlooks, youth in movement, and new skills for new jobs] is proportionate to the gravity of the current youth unemployment crisis experienced in many member states».
The day after the informal EU summit on the elements of the future ‘growth pact’, MEPs stated that an effective way of getting young people back into employment is to put in place systemic reforms to tackle structural unemployment. They call on the Commission to search for further and more ambitious sources of financing to help the member states solve the problem of the high rate of youth unemployment. MEPs also suggest that the Commission study the possibility of increasing the share of co-funding of Structural Funds for the eight member states worst affected by unemployment (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain).
The EP simultaneously expresses its deep concern over the negative impact the considerable budget cuts in education in certain member states will have on young people’s situations, as well as on the implementation of the proposals of the ‘Youth Initiative’. With this in mind, MEPs call on the Commission to ensure that the recommendations made to the member states on restoring their budget viability do not harm – or bring an end to – the policies and programmes aimed at promoting youth employment and the social inclusion of youth, or preventing the marginalisation and distancing of young people from the labour market.
Lastly, MEPs welcome the Commission’s intention, as stated in its communication ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’, to present a proposal for a Council recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships, and a proposal for a Council recommendation on youth guarantees by the end of 2012. The latter initiative is to ensure that young people find a job, an apprenticeship or further training shortly after leaving the education system.
In March, 5.516 million under 25s were unemployed in the EU27, 3.345 million of whom were based in the eurozone. The lowest rates were in Germany (7.9%), Austria (8.6%) and in the Netherlands (9.3%), and the highest rates were in Greece (51.2% in January) and in Spain (51.1%).