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European action to combat youth unemployment

Greens/EFA motion for a resolution

Tabled by Rebecca Harms, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Karima Delli, Malika Benarab-Attou, Rui Tavares, Jean Lambert, Elisabeth Schroedter, Marije Cornelissen, Ana Miranda, Franziska Keller, Margrete Auken
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the political agreement reached in Council on 28 February 2013 on a Council recommendation on Establishing a Youth Guarantee,

–   having regard to the European Council conclusions on a Youth Employment Initiative of 7 February 2013,

–   having regard to the proposal from the Commission of 5 December 2012 for a Second-stage consultation of the social partners at European level on a Quality Framework on Traineeships (COM(2012)0728),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2010 on ‘Promoting youth access to the labour market, strengthening trainee, internship and apprenticeship status’,

–   having regard to its resolution of January 2013 on a Youth Guarantee,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas 23.5 % of young people in the EU are currently unemployed, with youth unemployment exceeding 55 % in some Member States, 8.3 million Europeans under 25 are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs), 15 % of children leave school without completing secondary education, and 10 % of EU citizens are living in jobless households; whereas this could entail serious social consequences for society and the individual and whereas these problems continue to rise, posing the risk of a lost generation;

B.  whereas these youth unemployment and NEETs rates have a human rights impact and entail consequences regarding human rights violations; whereas a right-based approach is necessary in order to tackle this situation;

C. whereas the current crisis measures directed towards reduced public spending in the crisis countries have already shown a direct negative impact on youth due to cuts in education, employment creation and support services; whereas currently policies affecting young people are developed without involving the concerned and their stakeholders;

D. whereas education and training policies can play a crucial role in combating the high level of youth unemployment and fundamentally support integration and participation; whereas more investment is required in vocational education and training, integration into learning structures, higher education and research; whereas up-skilling is essential to equip individuals for quality jobs in sectors of job growth such as green jobs, ICT and the care sector;

1.  Urges the Member States, their heads of States and the European Commission

-    to take a rights-based approach to youth and employment,

-    to involve youth stakeholders in policy making,

-    to identify and end crisis policies which increase youth unemployment and exclusion

-    to focus on access to quality employment, education and training;

stresses that the European Parliament will closely monitor progress and observe whether the promised measures are implemented, especially as regards the Youth Guarantee;

2.  Calls on the Commission to first assess and then put an end to incoherent and sometimes destructive crisis measures; stresses that more than public commitment to Youth Employment is urgently needed; calls on the Commission to exclude investments in areas targeting youth employment such as job creation, education, training and research and development from deficit targets, since they are key for a sustainable exit for the crisis but also to consolidate the EU economy in a path of competitiveness and sustainable productivity;

3.  Calls on the Commission in cooperation with Member States with more than 25% youth unemployment in the regions to develop a 1-year relief-plan to tackle youth unemployment by the creation of jobs for at least 10% of the affected youth;

4.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to take a rights-based approach to youth and employment; stresses that, particularly in times of high crisis, the qualitative aspect of decent work for young people must not be compromised and the core labour standards as well as other standards related to quality of work must be a core element;

5.  Warns against bringing young people into employment by any means, entailing the risk that the quality of such employment, along with young people’s rights at work and especially the right to decent income, may be ignored; warns against youth mobility as a one-size-fits-all solution and points to lessons learned in relation to brain-drain and brain waste in both accession and development countries;

6.  Calls on Member States to not only deliver lip service on reforms in education and training but to address access, investment and quality with a view to long term sustainable policies; reminds that it is essential to target the transition between the different educational and training pathways and recognize competences based on non-formal and informal learning; stresses that income security and trust in labour market perspectives are essential pre-conditions for choosing higher education and young people with a higher risk of exclusion are overly affected by this;

7.  Urges the Member States to take strong measures to fight youth unemployment and early exclusion, in particular through preventive action against early dropout from school or from training or apprenticeship schemes (e.g. by implanting a dual educational system or other equally efficient types of framework);

8.  Stresses that young people should have the opportunity to employment opportunities in their own community and that work needs to be done to address geographical inequalities in Europe with regards to youth opportunities; calls on the European Commission and the Member States to guarantee policies with measures to facilitate the return of young people to their countries of origin preventing ‘brain drain’ and the loss of human capital;

9.  Stresses that social investment in favour of NEETs would reduce the present loss to the economy caused by their non-integration in the labour market, which is estimated by Eurofound to amount to EUR 153 billion, or 1.2 % of EU GDP(1);

10. Notes that social investment in youth may take a wide range of forms, including: developing partnerships between schools, training centres and local or regional businesses; providing targeted quality training and high-quality youth internship programmes; vocational schemes in cooperation with enterprises; senior employee sponsorship schemes aimed at the recruitment and training of young persons on the job or at securing a better transition from education to work; encouraging young people’s participation in society; and promoting regional, European and international voluntary mobility, by means of further progress towards the mutual recognition of qualifications and skills; also stresses that social investment can go hand in hand with efficient incentives, such as employment subsidies or insurance contributions for young people that will guarantee decent living and working conditions, in order to encourage public and private employers to hire young people, invest in both quality job creation for young people and continuous training and upgrading of their skills during employment, and support entrepreneurship among youth;

11. Calls, as a matter of urgency, for the frontloading of the EUR 6 billion allocated for the new Youth Employment Initiative in the first years of the Multiannual Financial Framework in order to address youth unemployment and implement youth guarantees; stresses that the costs of implementing youth guarantees across the eurozone are estimated at EUR 21 billion by the ILO; calls, therefore, for the allocation to be revised upwards in the context of a revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework; welcomes the extension of the eligibility group for the youth guarantee to those aged under 30;

12. Informs Member States that the European Parliament intends to monitor closely all Member State activities to make the Youth Guarantee a reality and invites Youth Organisations to keep the European Parliament updated on their analysis of Member State actions;

13. Reminds that the Youth Strategy’s two overall objectives (creating equal opportunities for youth in the labour market and promoting social inclusion) are far from being reached and urges Commission and Member States to realise the tremendous impact the crisis has on young people’s participation in society;

14. Stresses that any action to tackle youth unemployment by Member States and the European Institution should be at least twofold: to identify and end counterproductive policies and to come forward with policies addressing youth participation and employment involving the concerned actors;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


Eurofound (2012), ‘NEETs – Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe’. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.


More information:

Philine Scholze

Advisor on Employment and Social Affairs
Tel. Brussels +32-2-2832154
Tel. Strasbourg +33-3-88176720