Saturday

24th Feb 2024

EU youth unemployment is 'social emergency'

  • Barroso - EU unemployment a "social emergency" (Photo: xOchoa)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has put further pressure on governments to create a pan-European youth guarantee scheme to tackle record levels of youth unemployment.

The scheme aims to ensure EU citizens aged between 16-25 would be offered training, full-time education or a job within four months.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday (30 January) Barroso said "it is clear that we must take even stronger measures to fight unemployment, notably youth unemployment."

He added that there is still time to address the matter in discussions on the EU's next long term budget.

The commission is pushing to allocate funds from the EU budget for governments to finance national schemes. One in four under 25s in Europe is unemployed, rising to over one in two in Spain and Greece.

Barroso admitted that the "social situation is very severe. Unemployment, in particular youth unemployment is a huge concern for all of us. In 12 of our 27 member states youth unemployment is higher than 25 percent." He added that several EU countries faced a genuine social emergency."

On Tuesday Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn emphasised the size of the bloc's unemployment crisis, pointing out that over 2.5 million manufacturing jobs had been lost in Germany, France, Italy and Spain during 2012.

Barroso was speaking at the final session of the European Parliamentary week, with over 100 deputies from national parliaments in Brussels. Most MPs said that the European Semester was too focused on austerity.

Politicians also emphasised the need for national parliaments to take a prominent role in scrutinising economic reforms drawn up under the European Semester programme and new EU rules on economic governance. A paper prepared by the European Parliament's research unit found that just three countries - France, Italy and Luxembourg - had held parliamentary debates on their National Reform Programmes (NRPs) in 2011 and 2012.

For her part, Sharon Bowles, the British liberal MEP who chairs the powerful economic affairs committee, commented that "only a minority of national parliaments are actually grilling their ministers on what is being negotiated. We could all learn from some of those countries where parliaments do get involved and give a mandate to their ministers."

Germany, Denmark and Finland are among a minority whose MPs are required to give a mandate to ministers in advance of negotiations in Brussels.

Youth unemployment risks 'social disaster'

The rise in youth unemployment in some member states could pose a “serious threat to social cohesion,” the European Commission warned Friday.

Rehn under fire over Berlusconi remarks

EU commissioner Olli Rehn is at the centre of a political row after blaming Italy's former prime minister, Berlusconi, for the country's financial crisis.

EU to 'revive hope' on youth jobs, Barroso pledges

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called on EU leaders to tackle youth unemployment at their June summit, promising that the EU executive would do its bit to "revive hope."

Opinion

EU plan to let 17-year olds drive trucks is crazy

It's an astonishing proposition rooted in political interest rather than facts, with potentially dire consequences for all road users — especially for people who walk and cycle, warns the European Cycling Federation.

EU deal on new gig-workers rules unlikely before June elections

Another provisional agreement on improving working conditions for platform workers fall apart on Friday, as four member states decided not to support it — making the chances of a directive before the June European elections unlikely.

Latest News

  1. EU rewards Tusk's Poland on rule of law with €137bn
  2. UK-EU relations defrosting ahead of near-certain Labour win
  3. EU paid Russia €420-per-capita for fossil fuels since war began
  4. After two years of war, time to hit Putin's LNG exports
  5. Creating the conditions for just peace in Ukraine
  6. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  7. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  8. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us