Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Monday, 14 January 2013

MEP: EU youth unemployment creating 'lost generation'

European governments have been told they need to do more to avoid creating a "lost generation" amongst young people without a job, education or training.

Speaking during a debate on the Commission's proposed youth guarantee scheme on 14 January 2013, French socialist MEP Pervenche Beres said that the scheme relied solely on "the goodwill of EU member states".

In December 2012 - following a request by the Council and the Parliament - the Employment Commissioner, Laszlo Andor, announced a multi-million euro package of measures to help EU governments tackle youth unemployment, which has reached an EU average of 22.8%.

The proposed youth guarantee scheme would urge member states to introduce early intervention mechanisms to ensure that everyone under 25 is either in employment, further education or an apprenticeship or training scheme.

Under the proposals, it will be made easier for government to use the European Social Fund, and the Commission will facilitate more cross-border employment, making it easier for young people to find a job in another EU country.

But Ms Beres warned that if the scheme proved ineffective, a youth guarantee scheme may need to become a "genuinely European issue."

The highest level of youth unemployment is in Spain, where over half of all under 25-year-olds are out of work.

Responding to the debate, Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said that despite the costs of implementing such a scheme by national government, "the costs of not acting are far higher."

He said that youth unemployment was costing €135bn a year, through benefit payments and lost tax revenue.

Referring to austerity measures being implemented by many governments, Commissioner Andor warned that "we should not jeopardise our future whilst consolidating our finances".

A resolution on the scheme will be voted on during the daily voting session from 11am on 16 January 2013.

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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