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Tackling soaring youth unemployment in the EU

Devising a "European Investment Plan" to create new jobs, reallocating EU structural funds to projects to create them for young people, and introducing a "European Youth Guarantee" to ensure that young unemployed people are not without jobs for more than four months, are among the proposals set out by MEPs in a resolution, voted in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Tuesday, on measures to tackle youth unemployment.

Unemployment in the EU averages 10% and youth unemployment 22.1% - up from 14.7% in 2008, notes the resolution, drafted by Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR). Unemployment ranges from well below 10% in some EU Member States to 50% in those hardest hit by the crisis.

One reason for high youth unemployment is a failure to create new jobs, notes the text. MEPs welcome the European Commission's "Towards a job-rich recovery" communication and urge Member States to present a "European Investment Plan" to boost inclusive sustainable and job-rich growth.

EU structural funds

On 30 January 2012, during the European Council, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced that €82 billion in EU structural funds, out of the total €347 billion for 2007-2013, had yet to be allocated and could be redeployed.

MEPs regret that, after four year of the crisis, this €82 billion has remained unspent. They urge the Commission to propose as a priority, to redeploy a substantial part of that money into projects for young people.

They also ask the Commission to consider increasing the EU share of project costs co-funded with national governments of the eight countries worst affected by youth unemployment (Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy).

European Youth Guarantee and Quality Charter on Traineeships

Parliament proposed, in a resolution passed in 2010, that the Council and Commission devise a "European Youth Guarantee" to give every young person in the EU the right to a job, an apprenticeship, further training or a job combined with training, if they have been out of work for four months.

MEPs also called on the Commission and Council to "set up a European Quality Charter on Traineeships, to ensure their educational value and avoid exploitation". 

In the resolution voted in committee on Tuesday, MEPs welcome the Commission's plan to present a proposal to the Council on those two instruments by the end of 2012 and strongly urge Member States to approve the proposals by the end of 2012.

MEPs  add that the Youth Guarantee scheme needs to be legally enforceable if it is to make any real improvement in the situation of young people.

Action teams

The Commission has mobilised a series of action teams in the eight Member States worst affected by youth unemployment in order to develop youth unemployment plans.

In an oral question which was tabled with the resolution and will be debated with it in plenary session, Employment and Social Affairs Committee MEPs ask the Commission to report back on the work, progress and achievements of these action teams.

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