Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 19:17 UK

MEPs discuss youth unemployment

MEPs debated ways to tackle youth unemployment in Europe with the Commission on 23 May 2012.

The number of young people out of work has risen from 14.7% in Europe in 2008, to 22.6% in early 2012.

Youth unemployment in the euro area stands at 22.1% and for some countries, like Spain, the number of jobless youngsters has exceeded 50%.

In an effort to tackle the problem in Europe the Commission has launched the Youth Opportunities Initiative.

Through this, the Commission wants to help member states set up "youth guarantee" schemes to ensure young people are either in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school.

It will provide funds to help member states make greater use of available EU funding - in particular the European Social Fund, and it has proposed reallocating €82bn of unspent EU structural funds to help create jobs for young people.

MEPs broadly welcomed the proposals, stressing the urgency to combat youth unemployment.

However, many argued that these measures alone would not be enough, and called for long-term sustainable programmes and structural reforms to help young people into work.

Laszlo Andor, the EU's Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, stressed the Commission's commitment to tackling youth unemployment.

MEPs approved the resolution on 24 May 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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