Dublin Labour MEP, Emer Costello, has welcomed today's EU proposal for a European Youth Guarantee, saying that if adopted by EU leaders during the Irish Presidency and supported by dedicated EU resources, it could help to reduce the historically high rates of youth unemployment in Ireland and Europe as a whole.
"Youth unemployment is the greatest scourge of the economic crisis. Since the start of the crisis in 2008, youth unemployment across Europe has risen by 50%. Over 23% of under 25-year olds or 5.7 million people, are now unemployed, while Ireland's rate has shot up from 9% to almost 30% over the same period.
"A Youth Guarantee is not a 'magic bullet' for Europe's youth unemployment problem but it is an approach that is based on what works elsewhere in Europe such as in Austria, which currently has a youth unemployment rate of 8.5%.
"Under the Youth Guarantee approach, public employment services, education and training institutes, the social partners, and other relevant stakeholders would work together to identify the needs of each young unemployed person and to design an individual career plan that matches their strengths and weaknesses. The aim is to ensure that each young person is offered the opportunity to work, or to be in education or training, within a maximum period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.
"As a Member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, I have been working on the campaign for a European Youth Guarantee since taking up my seat in the European Parliament. I very much welcome the fact that Ireland's incoming EU Presidency has prioritised the adoption of this initiative during its six-month term-of-office.
"We must also ensure that the EU budget and particularly the European Social Fund (ESF) has the resources necessary to introduce and implement youth guarantee schemes over the coming years. It is in all our interests to ensure that funding is provided for this and other EU initiatives aimed at reducing unemployment.
"The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions puts the 'cost' of young people not being at work or in education or training at €150 billion per annum, or 1.2% of Member States' combined GDP.
"The OECD points out that investing in 'human capital' is one of the best ways of generating growth while the ILO estimates that it would cost 0.2% of combined GDP to introduce youth guarantee schemes in all Member States.
"A study by the Brussels-based European Policy Centre last month pointed out that achieving the EU's 75% employment rate target by 2020 would generate up to €1.2 trillion in extra revenues for EU Member States, or 7% of GDP.
"The Youth Guarantee approach has proven its worth in other European countries.
It should now be implemented all across Europe."