The workshop will look at:
- the need to effectively manage the school-to-work transition by better matching young people's skills with employers' demands;
- the possibility to use EU funds, also to support innovative ideas that can boost quality job creation, including for young people with fewer opportunities;
- the necessity to provide services which can help to develop young people's entrepreneurial potential and to actively support SMEs.
The crisis which started with the banks, and became an economic, a
social and also a European integration crisis, has been with us for
more than three years now. It affects social services, pensions, jobs
– but probably most brutally of all, it destroys the prospects and
aspirations of young people. There are 5.5 million unemployed young people in the EU today, while an additional 1.5 million are forced into precarious j obs. Some of the worst hit countries have seen youth unemployment
rise as high as 50%, with no end in sight. Around 7.5 million young people between the age of 15 and 24 are currently Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). This concerns not only those with low levels of qualifications, but increasingly also those who have already invested heavily in their own education. This is gradually creating generations of young people deprived of the means to build their own independent lives, disillusioned with the political and economic system, and left without hope. Prolonged austerity-only measures have a lot to answer for. In fact, tackling youth unemployment cannot be but part of of a broader EU strategy to re-launch growth and stimulate decent job creation.
The way forward
Tackling youth unemployment requires immediate and bold action in order to avert a major catastrophe. Not only do current figures seriously undermine social cohesion in some Member States but they also jeopardise European integration as a whole. For this reason, a Europe-wide youth guarantee should be introduced, ensuring that every young person in Europe will be offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed. A European Youth Employment Strategy needs to be adopted, equipped with at least 10 billion Euros of funds on the European level annually. The PES Group in the CoR fully subscribes to the campaign of the Party of European Socialists Your future is my Future – A European Youth Guarantee Now!, which urgently calls for the measures mentioned above.
The role of regional and local authorities
The PES Group in the CoR urges regional and local authorities to act swiftly and provide the support they can to address this major problem. In many countries, local or regional levels of governance are responsible for education and vocational training. In many cases, they support local businesses and are in close contact with them. Together with them and other stakeholders, local or regional actors can develop new ideas, implement new projects, help to bring in financing from the national or European level, provide guidance or make contacts.Locally and regionally elected Socialists and Social Democrats can make a difference!