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22nd Sep 2018

EU to compare member states on youth employment

  • EU employment commissioner Laszlo Andor wants better results from member states on youth unemployment. (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission wants to set up a platform to compare how well member states tackle youth unemployment.

Employment commissioner Laszlo Andor on Monday (17 June) told reporters in Brussels the platform would help public employment services across the EU increase co-operation, share best practices, and match job seekers with cross-border vacancies.

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“This new proposal will not introduce a miracle-overnight cure to Europe’s unemployment problems,” he said.

Instead, Andor said, it will help better match the some 1.7 million unfilled vacancies in the European Union with the unemployed, and encourage member states to implement a nascent youth jobs and training scheme.

Public employment services involve a network of some 5,000 local employment offices with more than 100,000 staff.

The services are structured differently in each member state but all aim to help locate jobs at the local, national and EU-level.

But not every public service in every member state has proven its worth.

“There is clearly room for member states to improve their efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

Andor pointed out public employment service deficiencies in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and Spain.

Typical shortcomings include the lack of computerised registration, lack of co-operation with local and social partners, and weak plans to boost mobility of job seekers within national borders.

The eight countries have each been issued specific economic policy recommendations in this area by the commission.

Other countries like Austria have set up more effective job placement schemes.

“We have been building on the Austrian experience which is really remarkable in keeping youth unemployment down, also in the crisis years,” said Andor.

He said the Austrian public employment service, along with the German, work well because they are highly computerised and have a more pro-active approach in matching the supply and demand of labour.

Andor also pointed out the Dutch city of Rotterdam as a positive example.

City officials there set up a single contact point that centralises all the services aimed to help young get work, advice, and assistance.

The proposal now goes to the member states and European parliament for discussion.

Meanwhile, debate on the commission’s €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative are still on-going in the European Parliament and among member states.

The initiative aims to ensure young people up to age of 25 receive job offers, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed.

The money would be handed over to eligible member states in a programme that runs from 2014 to 2020.

Andor said the latest discussions involved the possibility of frontloading the €6 billion for the first two years of the 2014 financial period.

“[It] is an emerging consensus on the importance of frontloading because the recession is now,” he said.

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