Dublin Labour MEP, Emer Costello, has launched a campaign for a European 'Youth Guarantee' to deal with rising youth unemployment, stating that the Youth Guarantee approach pioneered by Austria and Denmark could help reduce Ireland's historically high youth unemployment levels and should be taken up by the EU as a whole.
Ms Costello was speaking at the launch of the Youth Guarantee campaign in Dublin today, with Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Hannes Swoboda MEP (Austria), Leader of the EP's Socialists and Democrats Group, and John Lyons T.D.
Ms Costello said, "Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is the biggest challenge facing Ireland right now - we risk losing an entire generation with almost one-third of young Irish people and nearly one-quarter across Europe currently without work, many for a year or more.
"We are launching a campaign calling for a European Youth Guarantee because we are convinced that the youth guarantee approach pursued in Austria and Denmark is the one that can help reduce youth unemployment. Under this approach, EU Governments would bring together employers, training agencies, and education services, and would guarantee each unemployed young person a quality job, work placement, training, combined work and training or further education within a specific period of becoming unemployed or leaving full-time education.
"This approach works well in Austria and Denmark - which have youth unemployment rates of 10% and 14% respectively, compared to the EU average of almost 23% - and should now be taken up by Europe as a whole using the European Social Fund as a co-funding mechanism."
Speaking at the launch Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte T.D., stated, "We have to work with other European countries and EU institutions to combat this high level of unemployment. The Youth Guarantee, spearheaded by the PES, is taking a pro-active role in changing the future of young people in Europe for the better."
Hannes Swoboda MEP said, "The crisis has shown a dramatic increase of unemployment, especially of the youth. Youth unemployment is not naturally given and it is one of our priorities to take action on this. Europe can and must do something to help the young generation. Therefore, we are calling for the introduction of a European Youth Guarantee whereby young people should be offered a job or training after several months of unemployment. The Youth Guarantee has successfully been introduced in countries like Austria and we must now fight for its introduction on a European level. The crisis in Ireland and Europe will not end until we give hope and opportunities to our young."
John Lyons T.D. said, "With youth unemployment at over 30% in Ireland, we are holding ourselves back with so many young people on the side-lines.
"To help turn the tide on youth unemployment, I'm supporting the campaign for a 'European Youth Guarantee' which would give young jobseekers the tools they need to unlock their potential and realise their ambitions.
"Momentum is building on this policy with a decision due soon on EU funding for a pilot Youth Guarantee in Ballymun next year. If it goes ahead, it would be central to our campaign to put youth unemployment on the agenda during our presidency of the European Union."
Ms Costello concluded, "As a Member of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, I have consistently argued in favour of the Youth Guarantee and have pressed for its early introduction. I am delighted that the EU is due to issue proposals on the Youth Guarantee shortly. I very much welcome the fact that the Government has committed to making the adoption of this measure a priority of the Irish EU presidency next year, and I look forward to working with the Irish Presidency to ensure its delivery."