"At last - a glimmer of hope for Britain's lost youth," said Glenis Willmott MEP, Leader of Labour MEPs, on hearing today's news that an EU-wide ‘youth guarantee’ was agreed by government ministers at the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO).
The youth guarantee will ensure that all young people under the age of 25 get an offer of good quality employment, continuing education, apprenticeship or traineeship after an extended period unemployment or leaving formal education.
"I call on the British government to follow today's vote and use the UK's share of the six billion euro Youth Guarantee funds to save a generation of youth," Glenis Willmott added.
"Tory MEPs were almost alone in the European Parliament back in December last year as MEPs from across the political spectrum were united in our calls for a guarantee to unemployed youth to get a job for a fixed period," she said.
Glenis Willmott started a campaign for a Youth Jobs Guarantee in a speech at last year's Labour Conference, and followed it up with a week-end Event in Nottingham, where unemployed youth from across the EU met with employers, Labour Leader Ed Miliband and EU politicians to discuss different approaches to youth unemployment.
In December last year, Labour MEPs supported the TUC's 'Charter for a Future That Works' whose aims also included calls for guaranteed paid work or training after a period of unemployment for unemployed youth.
Glenis Willmott added “In Britain, there are a million young people who are unemployed. Across Europe, it's over five million. This is devastating for the young people themselves, but also a huge waste for our economy, with potentially disastrous implications for the future.”
"Thanks to the Irish Labour Party, tackling the issue of youth unemployment has been one of the top priorities of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The scheme, inspired by experience in Austria and Finland, has been recently implemented in Luxembourg and it is at the centre of the political debate in France."
”We now need to ensure that any scheme set up in the UK as a result of today's vote actually creates real employment."
Notes to Editors
- Since February 2012, all Party of European Socialists Member Parties have been active in the ‘Your Future is My Future’ campaign to establish a European-wide Youth Guarantee.
- More information on the TUC Charter is on http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/371/tuc-charter.pdf
- The EU heads of state and government today decided to allocate €6 billion in EU funds (€3 billion from the European Social Fund, €3 billion from a new budget line). The funds will particularly enable those countries worst hit by the crisis to finance a youth guarantee.