Youth employment

Greens/EFA motion for resolution

Tabled byTerry Reintke, Karima Delli, Monika Vana, Tamás Meszerics, Tatjana Ždanoka, Jean Lambert, Helga Trüpel, Ernest Urtasun, Jill Evans, Ska Keller, Jordi Sebastià, Bas Eickhout, Ernest Maragall
on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Council priorities published by the European Council on 27 June 2014,

– having regard to the political agreement reached in the 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 its resolution of 6 July 2010 on promoting youth access to the labour market, strengthening trainee, internship and apprenticeship status(1),

– having regard to its resolution of January 2013 on a Youth Guarantee(2),

– having regard to the Commission Communication of 12 March 2013 on the Youth Employment Initiative (COM(2013)0144),

– having regard to the Commission proposal 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 Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas youth unemployment is above 22 % in the EU and exceeds 55 % in some Member States; whereas 13 % of Europeans under 25 are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs), 12 % of children leave school without completing secondary education, and over 10 % of EU citizens are living in jobless households; whereas this situation 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 in the EU28 in 2012, 29.7 % of young people (15-29) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion;

C. whereas more than half of young Europeans feel that in their country young people have been marginalised and excluded from economic and social life;

D. whereas 42 % of young EU workers were on temporary contracts in 2012, which compares to 13 % among adult workers and, with this in mind, one in five young people fear losing their job;

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

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

European Council

1. Regrets the fact that the European Council’s priorities, published on 27 June 2014, as a strategic agenda for the EU and the new Commission, do not include targeted measures to help in the creation of quality jobs for young people;

2. Regrets the cancellation of the Heads of State and Government Summit, which was due to take place on 11 July 2014 in Turin, as a follow-up to the summits held in Berlin in July 2013 and Paris in November 2013; stresses the fact that this sends out the wrong signal to young Europeans;

3. Stresses that, given the consequences of the crisis for young people, a stronger commitment and improved monitoring are needed from Member States to improve the situation of young people; calls, in this connection on Member States to address the issue of youth unemployment during the next EPSCO informal Council on 17 and 18 July in Milan and to deliver actions and policies instead of statements;

Rights-based approach to employment

4. Urges the Commission and the Member States to take a rights-based approach to youth and employment; stresses that, particularly in times of severe crisis, the quality of work for young people must not be compromised;

5. Calls on Member States to ensure that young people have access to quality jobs that respect their rights, including the right to stability and security through a job that has a decent and fair wage, social protection and enables a secure life of dignity and autonomy;

6. Stresses that an end must be put to discrimination based on age when it comes to accessing social benefits, including conditional access to unemployment benefits; Stresses that imposing lower minimum wages on young people, irrespective of working experience or capability, not only disregards the most vulnerable on the labour market, but is also clear evidence of discrimination on the basis of age;

7. Recalls that skills policies should not only be seen as means to fulfil labour market needs, but should be part of a comprehensive approach that recognises competences acquired through non-formal and informal education, and support the implementation of lifelong-learning policies;

8. Urges the Commission to address the issue of precarious work and regulate contractual arrangements through exploring the proposal for an EU directive to counter the segmentation of the labour market and protect young people against in-work precariousness;

9. Calls on the Commission to thoroughly 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 from the crisis, and also to consolidate the EU economy on a path of competitiveness and sustainable productivity;

10. Recalls that the difficulty of finding decent housing is a major problem for young people, as housing can be a pre-condition for finding employment and vice versa; recalls that access to housing is a fundamental right;

11. Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with Member States with a youth unemployment rate of more than 25 % in their regions to develop a one-year relief-plan to tackle youth unemployment through the creation of jobs for at least 10 % of the young people affected; states the important role of regional and local employment policies and calls on Member States and the Commission to facilitate sharing of best practices;

12. Stresses that freedom of movement is a core right; stresses, also, that young people should also have the opportunity to access employment opportunities in their own community and that work needs to be done to address geographical inequalities in Europe with regard to youth opportunities; calls on the Commission and the Member States to guarantee policies with measures to facilitate the return of young people to their countries of origin, thereby preventing ‘brain drain’ and the loss of human capital;

13. Recalls that young workers – especially women and migrants – are often concentrated in precarious forms of employment, with low-paid, fixed-term and poorly protected jobs and internships; recalls that the economic costs of increasingly precarious work and increasing gender inequality for the EU are substantial, something which undermines public social security and health care systems, and endangers the European social model;

14. Recalls that constructive social dialogue contributes to safeguarding jobs and employment; recalls that strong social partnerships are a core competence of the EU labour market and have a key role to play in integrating young workers into the labour market; calls on the Commission to support social partners’ agreements;


15. Calls on Member States not only to deliver on reforms in education and training, but to address access, investment and quality with a view to long-term sustainable policies; recalls that it is essential to target the transition between the different educational and training pathways, implement relevant and engaging curricula, devise a strong and well developed guidance system for all students, and recognise competences based on non-formal and informal learning; underlines the fact that a holistic and inclusive educational approach is an essential element to address all children and young people; 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;

16. 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 implementing a dual education system or other equally efficient types of framework);

17. 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;

Youth Guarantee, YEI and QFT:

18. Welcomes the mentioning of the Youth Guarantee in the majority of the Country‑Specific Recommendations; calls, however, for more transparency in the monitoring of the implementation and for greater ambition with regard to addressing the Member States who show no progress in this regard;

19. Calls for efficient monitoring of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and for regular publications on Member States’ progress or lack thereof; calls on the Commission to monitor closely the challenges that have been identified in the 2014 Country-Specific Recommendations regarding the quality of offers and the lack of active outreach to NEETs, the administrative capacity of public employment services and the lack of effective engagement with all the relevant partners; stresses that monitoring should include fact-finding mission procedures, interviewing governments, national parliamentary parties and NGOs;

20. Reiterates its commitment to monitoring closely all Member State activities to make the Youth Guarantee a reality, and invites youth organisations to keep Parliament updated on their analysis of Member State actions; urges Member States and the Commission to involve youth stakeholders in policy making;

21. Urges Member States to go above and beyond the March 2014 Council recommendation for a quality framework for traineeships, giving trainees clearly defined rights that include access to social protection, written and binding contracts and fair remuneration, in order to ensure that young people are not discriminated against when it comes to accessing the world of work;

22. Stresses that the Youth Employment Initiative should be regarded as an incentive to all Member States for using the European Social Fund to finance broader projects related to young people, especially on poverty and social inclusion; calls the Commission to monitor the use of ESF funds for youth-related projects; calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide the implementing bodies for the Youth Employment Initiative with all the technical assistance needed to deliver on the projects as a matter of urgency;

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

Investment and macroeconomic dimension:

24. Stresses that, even if supply-side measures – such as skills development and labour market regulations – can play a role in fighting youth unemployment, macroeconomic and demand-side factors should be better taken into account; recalls that more investments in young people and youth-related areas should be considered as investments in Europe’s future;

25. Urges Member States to invest in job creation, in particular in sectors of the future and green jobs, and with a particular focus on youth employment; stresses that this investment must be viewed as a key investment in the future of Europe;

26. Calls on the Commission to draw up recommendations on the feasibility of defining an EU-wide unemployment allowance in relation to the previous wages of the unemployed person; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to assess automatic stabilisers at EU level to absorb country-specific economic shocks.

27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.