In preparation for today’s and tomorrow’s European Council (27-28 June), PES Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers gathered in Brussels to give a concerted and substantial push to combat youth unemployment in Europe. During the preparation meeting, the PES leaders called for concrete actions to implement the Youth Guarantee at European and national level, as well as additional funding to extend the scope and impact of the scheme. This major push mirrored the strong actions taken by PES Member Parties across Europe in the last few days.
PES President Sergei Stanishev stated that he was; “Very proud of the high level of coordination, discipline and drive of the PES Member Parties on our fight against youth unemployment. It is thanks to the leaders of our political family that youth unemployment is the European priority, and I am confident that we will continue our political struggle to make sure that this most visible social consequence of conservative economic polices is tackled head on”.
Mr. Stanishev also praised Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Irish deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore for their patience and persuasiveness in helping reach a compromise on the European budget today. Both leaders were present at the PES pre-Council Preparation Meeting to brief on the latest developments.
Earlier this morning, Mr. Schulz gave an interview to a leading German newspaper in which he emphasized the importance of allocating more funds and taking further measures to reduce youth unemployment in Europe. Regarding the initial funding of 6 billion euro from the EU budget, the President of the European Parliament stated in the interview that; “the money can be a first step to get young people into education or employment – but, of course, it will be far from enough to solve the problem”.
Also today, two major newspapers in Sweden and Finland published a joint article written by Finland’s Finance Minister and chairperson of the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) Jutta Urpilainen and the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Worker's Party (SAP) Stefan Löfven. Titled “Europe cannot afford to lose a whole generation”, the joint article urged the European Investment Bank to allocate more funds to tackle youth unemployment and called for the swift implementation of Youth Guarantees across Europe.
Yesterday, the Parti Socialiste (PS) of Belgium hosted a meeting with several progressive leaders to outline an action plan in the fight against youth unemployment. In Paris, Harlem Désir, First Secretary of the French Socialist Party (PS) and Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) highlighted that youth employment should be Europe’s absolute priority. And on Sunday, Enrico Letta, Prime Minister of Italy and participant of today’s PES pre-Council Preparation Meeting, stressed that the Youth Guarantee scheme should be implemented as soon as next year.
This strong and coordinated push from progressives across Europe has taken place days after the PES Council in Sofia and its appeal to “increase the speed and substance of the European Youth Guarantee”. Next week (3 July), the PES and the SPD will co-organize a Social Affairs Ministerial in Berlin. The meeting will be hosted by SPD Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück, and will push for concrete steps in the implementation of the European Youth Guarantee.