Wednesday

29th Jan 2020

EU leaders pledge €2bn extra for youth scheme

  • Hundreds youngsters from all over Europe protested in front of the German chancellery, demanding an end to austerity (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Seventeen EU leaders meeting in Berlin on Wednesday (3 July) pledged an extra €2bn billion for a youth employment scheme that so far was pegged at €6bn.

The Berlin gathering was a "three-in-one" summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the concluding press conference, as it also included labour ministers, heads of employment agencies and the representatives of big EU-based companies - the European Roundtable of Industrialists.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

"It is not only about eight billion euro more for fighting youth unemployment, but also about the flexible use of EU structural funds, about funds from the European Investment Bank and the European Social Fund," Merkel said.

The €8 billion will start flowing on 1 January, but the European Investment Bank also pledged to start giving loans to small and medium-sized enterprises from August on in order to help them hire more young people.

This lending scheme will amount to another €6 billion per year for the next three years.

Merkel said the purpose of the gathering was to look at concrete examples of what works when governments - who have the sole responsibility for social and labour policies - try to reduce their youth unemployment rates.

A follow-up summit, to be hosted in autumn by French President Francois Hollande, will look at what has been achieved in implementing some of these "best practices." These range from a more practical-oriented education system to setting up employment offices in countries like Greece.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who chairs the rotating EU presidency, warned governments not to expect Europe to do their work.

"I want to be clear: We cannot create an illusion for some governments not to do anything and think Europe will help. There is no Europe, there are only member states responsible for social policies," the Lithuanian President said.

But for a few hundred young trade unionists from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Poland and France, yet another high-level meeting is not making much difference for the 5.6 million unemployed youngsters in Europe.

"Europe's youngsters need more than Merkel's hot air," one banner read at the protest staged outside the chancellery on Wednesday.

Another told leaders to invest in young people, not banks, a reference to the bailed-out banks in Spain, that have now put thousands of people out in the streets because they have no jobs and cannot pay their mortgages.

"EU leaders are great communicators and PR agents, but this doesn't help us get a job," Sophie Binet from the French Confederation of Labour (CGT) told this website.

A trade unionist from Portugal, Bruno Teixeira, called it a "show-off summit" with the few billions spread over several years making no real difference to the unemployed in his country.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho also participated in the Berlin summit. According to an EU official who participated in the talks, Coelho briefed his fellow leaders on the political turmoil back home after two ministers resigned and pressure is mounting for him to follow suit.

"I think the PM will quit. He didn't do so today, just because he had to come here and see Merkel," Teixeira said.

"The government is totally isolated and nobody believes or trusts them anymore. For two years they have been cutting social policies, unemployment is growing, debt is growing, the budget is not balanced."

"Portugal was a fake poster child. Merkel had to present a country that supposedly worked with all the austerity measures, but it doesn't," Teixeira said.

Focus

Data hole in EU plan for youth jobs

EU commission wants to spend another €2 billion on creating jobs for young people, but lack of data on who gets what from the scheme poses questions.

Feature

New year, old problems for one of EU's poorest places

The year is off to a rocky start in Vaslui, one of EU's most impoverished regions and Romania's poorest county, where two 12-year olds were found in alcohol-induced coma after having spent their Christmas carol-singing money on alcohol.

News in Brief

  1. EU asylum agency to expand operations in Greece
  2. EU set to repatriate citizens from coronavirus-hit Wahun
  3. German Left MEP resigns over former far-right membership
  4. Sassoli defends 'renewed approach' for enlargement
  5. UK approves limited role for Huawei in 5G network
  6. Cases of coronavirus in France and Germany
  7. Report: EU court seeks authority on post-Brexit deal
  8. Slovenian PM resigns, calls snap election

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU not prepared for 2015 repeat, warns migration chief
  2. Selmayr did not want top job, says predecessor
  3. EU states wary of MEPs leading future conference
  4. Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states
  5. In Orban's Hungary, the law is not for everyone
  6. 'Brexit is not going to go away,' warns EU's Barnier
  7. Belgian spy services launch internal clear-up
  8. US and UK in war of words over Huwaei

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us