The Party of European Socialists (PES) will use the traditional 1 May Labour Day to highlight the need for a European Wide “Youth Guarantee”. 5.6 million young people are unemployed in the European Union, with Spanish and Greek rates of youth unemployment over 50%. The PES proposal is to use EU structural funds to allow 2 million young people a chance to avoid the crisis of unemployment.
Speaking from Bulgaria where he will head a major rally of progressive forces, PES President Sergei Stanishev stated that; “The 1 May is based on our progressive history, but we must also secure our progressive future. That is why the PES is prioritising a European Youth Guarantee. Our campaign is entitled ‘Your future is my future’, which encapsulates, on this workers holiday, the need for solidarity between the young and old”.
The guarantee would allow young people to secure employment four months after becoming unemployed or after leaving the education system.
The PES also emphasised that the 1 May was: “a holiday to mark the power of collective action, workers’ rights and progressive values”. This was a reaction to the recent, failed, attempt by the French President to exploit the date, despite a disastrous record on workers’ rights over the last five years. PES Secretary General, Philip Cordery, added that: “The 1 May is a celebration of workers' collective actions and sacrifices for better work conditions and less working time. It is shameful that Nicolas Sarkozy, whose mandate has been all about depriving workers of their basic rights is trying to hijack the workers day.”
Political trends towards the left are beginning to accelerate across the EU. The Romanian President has just named the head of the PES party PSD, Victor Ponta, as Prime Minister; the French elections next Sunday will likely see the fall of the Conservative UMP Government, and the Netherlands are set to see the end of its right wing administration.