Socialist minister call for an immediate action programme to overcome youth unemployment
PES employment and social affairs ministers are increasingly concerned about rising youth unemployment. Nicolas Schmit, Labour Minister from Luxemburg and Chair of the social democratic and socialist ministers’ network declared: “Having more than fifty percent of young people out of work in some countries is the real disaster of the Eurozone crisis. Young people deserve better. The big support of young voters for extremist parties in recent elections is a result of their problems not being solved. Young people are cynical about politicians being able to meet their needs. With the debacle of Conservative austerity programmes, this cynicism is understandable. He added that: “Each day of inaction on youth unemployment is a day that their trust in democracy is further eroded.”
The Austrian Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer emphasized: “There is one instrument which works for young people and we have proof in Austria: it is the introduction of a youth guarantee. We are very happy that other Member States are beginning to follow our example and introduce such youth guarantees. This is a testament to the progressive, coordinated and inclusive policies of our European social democratic family”.
Nicolas Schmit used the press conference to announce that he is in the process of introducing a youth guarantee in Luxemburg, profiting from the Austrian example. He emphasized: “We support every step by Member States to introduce a youth guarantee. But especially for the countries hit hardest by the crisis, European funds must be available to create more jobs for young people. We therefore call for a European Youth Employment Programme, equipped with 10 billion Euros.” Both ministers underlined their strong support for the youth guarantee campaign of the Party of European Socialists “Your future is my future”.
In an early meeting today, socialist and social democratic ministers defined common proposals to move towards a more social Europe in the near future. Nicolas Schmit underlined: “The crisis must not be an excuse to slash our welfare systems. The opposite: only if we make Europe more social, can we overcome the current economic difficulties. European policies need to be more supportive to creating jobs and reducing poverty, than they are at the moment. While we have enough money to continuously save banks, we have no money left to overcome the social divide in Europe and to give young people a real alternative. That is unacceptable. We also demand the introduction of more common European social standards, for example on minimum wages and on spending at least 6% of national budgets on education.”