unemployment – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:59:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.11 European Parliament Conference of Presidents (EP president and political group leaders) with Chair of the EU High Level Group on Own Resources /ep-own-resources/ Fri, 09 Jan 2015 17:42:29 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1248 On Thursday 8 January a European Parliament Conference of Presidents took place. It was chaired by the EU High Level Group on Own Resources lead by Mario Monti. The report on EU’s Own Resources that was published last month was presented under the idea of reforming the EU funding system.

AEGEE / European Students’ Forum has been monitoring the developments on the area of own financing of the European Union with special interest, predicting it as one of the most important challenges that the European institutions have to face with.

As members of the organization European Movement, AEGEE welcomes the tendency of the EU to increase the self-financed packages. In this sense, in 2013 EMI’s Council meeting a plan for Sustainable Development and Employment was suggested and presented on the ECI (2014)000002 funded through a Financial Transaction Tax.

AEGEE would like to encourage all involved subjects to work on the development of the Financial Transaction Tax linked to the Plan for Sustainable Development and Employment fostering policies directly addressed to lower the current unemployment and underemployment rates.

Background

The High Level Group, that was set up to develop ideas for EU own financing for EU’s 2014-2020 MMF, is expected to deliver its final recommendations before the end of 2016.

New Deal 4 Europe registered on March 2014 the ECI for a European Special Plan for Sustainable Development and Employment, the collection of which is ongoing.

Written by Pablo Hernández, Policy Officer of AEGEE-Europe on Youth Employment

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Inventing the jobs of the future in Brno /inventing-the-jobs-of-the-future-in-brno/ Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:41:39 +0000 /?p=4883

Discussing the sources of unemployment and the opportunities for the new generation

iron giantIn the previous article of team blue about our stop in Prague, we discussed the curious case of Euro-scepticism and scepticism in general in the Czech Republic. The next destination of our travel was the student city Brno where we found a statue that symbolizes this interesting aspect of Czech society: an iron giant holding a cube that is standing in front of the impressive legal court. Michaela, who was our guide in the city, told us that the statue symbolizes the Czech attitude towards justice. The cube represents the truth; implying that even if you are holding the truth in your hands it still has many sides. Justice is a matter of interpretation and we have to keep a certain sceptical reservation towards it. Keeping this wisdom in mind, we challenged the students of Brno to think about and to discuss the issue of youth (un) employment. What truths could we find regarding this topic and what are the sources of scepticism?

The machines are getting our jobs!

We started our discussion in Brno by trying to answer the question: “why does unemployment exist in the first place?” Some of the participants argued that a growing number of people that attends university and an inflation of value of academic diplomas caused the rise in unemployment. While more and more people are studying for example political science and culture studies, it is unclear whether there is a job market for all those graduates. Others argued that unemployment was on the rise because of a decline of major industries in Europe, causing a huge loss of jobs. By moving our industries to Asia, we are losing jobs in our countries.

AEGEE-BrnoOne of the main points of discussion was the role of technology in the change of the labour market. This point touches upon a question that was already present during the industrial revolution: “will the machines take our jobs?” Until now, history has shown us that this fear might have been unnecessary while industrialization and mechanization has created more jobs rather then less. However, the nature of our work has changed tremendously: from a job market of farmers to a job market of factory workers; from a job market of factory workers to a job market of bureaucrats and accountants. We transformed from an agricultural to an industrial to a service economy. According to recent studies, 47% of all jobs is likely to be replaced by mechanized labour in the near future. The big question of the current age is: what is next?

The consensus amongst the group was that the job market in the future will be much more individualized and will encourage people to develop and sell their unique personal skills. In other words: the job market of the future will be one of entrepreneurs. It was interesting to hear that almost one-third of the group was seriously considering to start his or her own business. However, the current regulations and procedures in the Czech Republic where viewed as very discouraging and complicated. A question that arises from this in a European context is: how can we create an environment in Europe in which the threshold to starting a business is much lower and in which young entrepreneurs are supported in the first steps of a starting a company?

The future: creative academics versus the others?

In honour of the Czech spirit, a sceptical reply could not be absent in the discussion. Surprisingly, the president of AEGEE-Brno Ivan, who has Slowakian roots, provided this reply. He argued that, as is often the case in discussions amongst academics, solutions are almost always presented in the context of people with an academic background. If we expect all young people to be provided with challenging internships and entrepreneurial support, do we really reach the entire group of people that is hit by unemployment? Ivan argued that there is a large group of unemployed youngsters that lacks an academic or creative background and would not benefit at all from the solutions that are presented. A relevant issue to be raised is therefore how to create European solutions against unemployment for all youngsters and not only those who have the fortune of an academic background or a creative spirit.

tram BrnoYouth unemployment seems to be a very complicated matter with as many problems as it contains solutions. Its unpredictable nature seems to make it difficult to create a coherent policy that would benefit all. What will the job market of the future look like, now technology starts affecting the service sector? Young people need to discuss these issues in order to sustain a society in which most are included and find purpose in their work. Keeping this in mind, we left Brno in order to catch a train to Warsaw; the next stop of team blue. In the capital of Poland, we will discuss the opinion of the Polish people about the EU. How Europtimistic will they be?

 

 

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Europe on Track 2 empowers European youth to become actors in the construction of the Europe of tomorrow /europe-on-track-2-empowers-european-youth-to-become-actors-in-the-construction-of-the-europe-of-tomorrow-2/ Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:30:08 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1022 AEGEE-Europe launched on Wednesday 9th April the project Europe on Track 2. After presenting the project in the press conference at the European Parliament, six ambassadors divided in two teams began their traveling by train all over the European continent during one month, with the objective of interviewing young people from various backgrounds about their vision of Europe.

To set the context, the results and the documentary from the first edition (winner of the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize) were presented to the audience. Then the project coordinators introduced the features of Europe on Track 2, which this time focuses on encouraging young people to get involved as active citizens and capture possible ways of participating in the construction of the European Project.

At a time when European integration is being questioned, and when young people’s future prospects have become hazy, Europe on Track wants to act as a loudspeaker for the youth, bringing their opinion, their realities and their wishes to decision-makers” Réka Salamon, project coordinator, said.

The six travelers will visit 25 cities in 16 countries, reaching as far as the Baltics, the Balkans and Ukraine. In local events they will discuss about mobility programmes, youth employment, the European elections, youth participation and europtimism. All the discussions and insights will be documented with videos, pictures and articles shared in the Europe on Track blog and through social media.

In order to overcome the geographical and time limits, Europe on Track partners with Debating Europe to host two online debates on youth mobility and youth participation. “With this partnership we hope to spark online discussion that can add to the project’s results, engaging more young people and even not-so-young people from all European countries“, said Rocío Leza, project coordinator.

AEGEE also counts with the support of Interrail, who makes this ambitious project possible. Besides, our partner Youth For Public Transport supports the sustainable transport of the travelers by providing them with a carbon footprint calculator created especially for the project. “We thought that there was no better way of contributing to the project than supporting the sustainable transport of the ambassadors, providing them with the possibility to really think about their mobility choices!” in words of Jerome Kisielewicz, Y4PT.

Find more about Europe on Track:
We invite you to follow the upcoming events of ‘Europe on track’ on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Mc Kinsey report highlights some of the problems behind youth unemployment /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/ /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:43:12 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=956 “In Europe, 74 percent of education providers were confident that their graduates were prepared for work, but only 38 percent of youth and 35 percent of employers agreed” states the Mc Kinsey report, which was released Mid-January 2014. This statement, based on a meticulous research carried out toward 5,300 youth, 2,600 employers, and 700 post-secondary education providers across 8 countries, brings to light the difference of perspectives and the lack of clear understanding among Education providers on the reality of the situation for young people willing to enter the job market.

This research reminds us that apart from the lack of job offers, another key issue is the existing skills mismatch between what Education providers are providing and the actual needs of the companies. These and other factors ended up in 5.6 million young people being unemployed in Europe.

AEGEE-Europe is worried to see that the situation for young people is still blocked and leaves so many young job seekers really unmotivated, desperate to find a job that not only enables them to pay their rent, but also fulfills their expectations. On that matter, we can only keep on calling Higher Education institutions to rethink their learning models and to cooperate further with companies in order to understand, and then translate in their programs, the skills that are being asked for on the job market.

AEGEE-Europe also wants to stress the crucial role of Non-Formal Education players in that field, since skills considered as crucial from employers, such as “spoken communication and work ethic” to quote the Mc Kinsey’s report, are exactly those that volunteers in youth organisations get to experience and develop. Moreover, not only do Youth Organisations provide soft skills needed by the job market, but they give also valuable work experience, which often job applicants lack. For this reason, AEGEE-Europe can only repeat the need for volunteers’ engagement and experiences to be recognised by key players, such as Educational centres (with ECTS compensations), Employers (by taking seriously into account volunteers’ experience) and public institutions (through validation of Non-Formal Education competences).

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Impressions on the EP plenary on Youth Employment /impressions-on-the-ep-plenary-on-youth-employment/ Wed, 11 Sep 2013 06:54:40 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=717 Yesterday the European Parliament held a session dedicated to Youth Unemployment. It was a very interesting session to follow, where almost all voices agreed on some points such as the seriousness of the situation in some of the countries and regions and the need for a strong action from the European Union.

We learned at the very beginning that the Lithuanian Presidency has adopted Social Inclusion of NEETs (youth Not in Education, Employ or Training) as its priority on Youth policy. We in AEGEE celebrate this decision.

Commissioner László Andor began by presenting all the actions taken on the European Level to revert the trend of destruction of jobs. Here, the initiatives included in the Youth Employment Package and developed in the Youth Employment Initiative, were showcased; namely the Youth Guarantee Scheme and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships. Later interventions however remarked the fact that independent studies have shown the big gap between the necessary funding and the amount allocated from European budget. This was supposed to be covered by countries but it is not certain it will happen, risking the success of these measures.

MEPs more on the left side blamed the conservative parties of being hypocrites for asking for solutions to the problem of youth unemployment, while they are responsible for it (at least partially) through the imposition of austerity measures.

According to many MEPs the solution to the problem of unemployment has to be based in investment. The necessary austerity measures should not apply to areas such as education, entrepreneurship, I+D… which require strong investments to start working full steam again.

Moreover, some MEPs highlighted the risk of placing the young Europeans on a terrible dilemma. The one of having to choose between a badly paid job and no job at all. Moreover, those work-for-free schemes such as internships have become sometimes traps for our youth, and they do not lead to stable jobs after the learning process because another intern covers the same place.

In the end, it was a very interesting plenary because the different speakers showed up that, even on such a critical point of the political agenda, they are divided and there are contradictory positions. Something that young voters will take into account for sure when deciding their vote in the next elections. We in AEGEE will give Employment a great focus in our new project Y Vote 2014, which aims at empowering young people to make an informed choice during the European Parliament elections by undertaking actions both on European and local level.

Time now to follow the State of the European Union plenary. You can follow it here.

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Welcome, Croatia! /croatia-eu-welcome/ Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:10:06 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=644 During the last week of June we have been warming up for welcoming Croatia in the European Union: the European institutions have focused big part of their communication in introducing the new member to the rest of the club through figures, infographics and cool videos highlighting the assets of Croatia or sharing the impressions of some relevant European politicians (part 1 and Part 2), or promoting the whole idea of enlargement itself.

 

Commissioners welcoming Croatia (click to see video)

Moreover. the European Commission held a Youth conference in Zagreb last week, where 80 AEGEE members, and dozens of young Europeans from other NGOs, could meet representatives of the European Commission, the European Youth Forum, and other stakeholders from the European and national (Croatian) level. Topics as entrepreneurship and unemployment, the challenges for the Croatian youth in the new reality, or the advantages and disadvantages of a Croatia inside the EU28 were some of the raised topics. There was also time for a creativity workshop where European youth had to prepare videos with positive messages about enlargement. The results were impressive and gave bright ideas which maybe we will see implemented in future EU campaigns.

Today, Croatia closes a chapter in its history and opens a new one, one where Croatians will be part again of something bigger. For some people, the shadow of the Yugoslavian past is still felt. There are those who fear a dilution of national identity. But the EU is different to Yugoslavia, in the EU28 diversity is an added value, art and culture will be celebrated, and the language will be preserved.

Croatia comes however with a list of challenges that cannot be ignored. Youth unemployment over 50% makes it third of the EU28 list, after Spain and Greece. while 5 years of recession have weakened the economy. The enthusiasm for the EU has decreased lately and in the first elections for the EP representatives from today until the next EP elections, only 20% of Croatians went to vote. Finally, there is a risk that a EU who is fighting back the current crisis situation cannot deliver for the high expectations that some Croatians have raised on the accession. On its benefit, the small size of the country should ease the whole process of assimilation of the new country.

There are also reasons to believe that the accession of Croatia is good news. Looking back just 20 years ago, Croatia was being devastated by a war. The EU was created to restore trust among nations and to provide a durable peace, and the accession of Croatia is an encouraging message to other ex-Yugoslavian republics to speed up the process and make themselves ready for the EU. The real end of the Yugoslav wars will be when they all belong to the EU and they will solve their differences through negotiations and diplomacy. Do not take me for a fool; I know it will not be an easy process and neither a fast one.

Some people are wondering what can be the benefit of the accession for the rest of the EU. We have had Croatians inside AEGEE for more than 20 years and we have seen how big contribution they can make to building Europe from a youth perspective. Now it will be the EU28 who will have the opportunity to bring out the great potential of the Croatian citizens in benefit of all the European Union.

 

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Time is Money: volunteers’ time is given a value! /volunteers-time-given-value-money/ Sat, 09 Mar 2013 09:17:29 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=501 We all knew it, volunteers’ time is of great value. The time we dedicate to our projects and initiatives contributes to the development of Europe, both socially and economically. It also contributes to increase social capital or, in other words, it develops further cooperation among individuals and groups in the community. Moreover, a research carried out by the John Hopkins University measured it and announced that volunteers can contribute up to 5% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The new regulation on ‘financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union’ has finally admitted this officially. It includes the possibility of giving economic value to the work of volunteers and including it as co-funding for a grant application under 60.000€. This means volunteers’ time can be given the value it deserves and be included in grant applications to European Institutions.

At AEGEE-Europe we very much welcome this change that will enable youth organizations to actually measure the contribution of its volunteers, therefore obtaining further support in their projects. We also consider this decision a significant step forward, in order to reach the goal of give the right value to voluntary activities. However, we are still far from the objective and we encourage European institutions and the Members’ States to proceed with next steps which will go toward a full appreciation of volunteer work, such as the recognition of the skills and competences which are acquired during the volunteer activities.

Written by Felipe González Santos
Policy Officer on Youth Participation of AEGEE-Europe

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Rethinking education: the European students ideas /rethinking-education-european-commission-aegee/ /rethinking-education-european-commission-aegee/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:36:28 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=449 Last november the European Commission released the communication Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes. This document has been read carefully by several stakeholders in the education sector, as marks the Commission’s guidelines for the European policies in one of the most sensitive fields of national and European politics.

AEGEE’s opinion on the document is generally positive as it shows the will of the European Commission to adapt the educational system in Europe to the new challenges that nowadays society poses. However, there are some concerns that need to be addressed, regarding some critical aspects as the independence of the education institutions, the need for a balanced set of skills (that include not only the needs of the labour market but also the needs of society) or the need of including students in the decision-making process, among others.

Androulla Vassiliou presenting "Rethinking Education" communication (Photo: EC)

Read the complete reaction of AEGEE on www.aegee.org

 

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The Youth Guarantee momentum /youth-guarantee-momentum-jobs-europe-ep/ Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:18:34 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=358 AEGEE-Europe is pleased to hear that the European Parliament voted yesterday a resolution which should encourage the Members States to implement the Youth Guarantee in their country. More exactly, the Resolution calls on Member States to introduce their own youth guarantee scheme and advocates for 25% of the European Social Fund to be used to finance the mechanism.

This resolution synergies the efforts of the European Commission to tackle the thorny issue of youth unemployment, which has raised to 25 millions of youth unemployed in Europe. AEGEE-Europe hopes Member States’ ministers for employment and social affairs will reach an agreement during the  Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) Council in February 2013 and issue a recommendation to convince the Member States that the Youth Guarantee scheme should be adopted all over the EU as one of the main tools to fight Youth Unemployment. AEGEE-Europe urges Members States to use the tools which are put at their disposal by the European Union, and to become proactive in dealing with the unemployment of young people and implement the Youth Guarantee in the short term, without dropping any other national initiatives that may have been put in place.

MEP Pervenche Berès mentioned at the introduction of the EP Resolution that Youth is not an homogenous group; therefore a needs analysis will have to be conducted in order to be able to propose tailored and efficient solutions. AEGEE would like to improve the Youth Guarantee scheme, making it sure that it is extended beyond the age of 25, since the studying period nowadays can extend well beyond this age depending on the different paths offered to students. Limiting the youth guarantee to young people up to 25 years old would only partially address the problem.
We also want to raise our voice to communicate our concerns: special effort has to be taken to make sure that the companies join the Youth Guarantee scheme, because their collaboration is necessary to make it happen. A common dialogue has to be established among governments (national, regional and local), all sectors of economy and the young people, in order to develop the scheme, and to have it adapted to the reality of each country. The role of National Youth Councils (NYCs) and Youth organizations in the drafting, implementation and evaluation phases of the Youth Guarantee scheme is crucial to achieve the aimed objectives.
AEGEE calls finally for the inclusion of strict control mechanisms to prevent that this solution for Youth Unemployment is misused and perverted into a way to obtain cheap labour force through precarious job offers, unpaid internships or low quality education opportunities.

Written by the Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe

 

 

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Welcoming the European Youth Guarantee /youth-guarantee-unemployment-solution/ Wed, 12 Dec 2012 07:35:02 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=311 One week ago, on Wednesday Dec 5th, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Mr László Andor, presented a new package of measures against unemployment. The job market is severely affected by the crisis, and the situation gets worse every month. We stand now at alarmingly high youth unemployment rates in Europe: an average 23% in the European Union, and in some countries like Spain and Greece, over 50%. It is true that youth unemployment was an endemic problem in many regions in Europe but the situation is derailed now, and this has moved the European Commission (EC) to finally include in the proposed measures the idea that has been advocated for by the European Youth Forum and other youth NGOs in Brussels for more than a year: to adapt to the European scale, the youth guarantee scheme that has worked quite well in some countries like Austria, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.

But what is exactly the European Youth Guarantee? It is the compromise to offer to young Europeans under 25 a traineeship or an opportunity to continue in education, within four months after they get unemployed. This tackles specifically the problem of social exclusion that long term unemployment can bring to people. The aim is to reverse the current trend of rising numbers of NEETs (stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training). The low rates of unemployment in the countries that already have set up this scheme are promising.

However, we in AEGEE see that this scheme raises some concerns that have to be taken into account, as it came up during the online discussion that Commissioner Mr. Andor held with young citizens on Friday. For instance: how can the European Commission enforce such a measure when they have no decision power on education policies? One of the possibilities is through the budget control systems put in place recently, especially for countries which have received economical support from EU.

Talking about money, the big question will be where to get all that money from (estimated costs around 4.000 – 6.000 euros per person, depending on the country). Ideally the Member States would be funding the scheme, but the European Commission pointed at the European Social Fund as an opportunity to get support. This Fund contains 76.000 million Euros for the period 2007-13. As the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework is still not agreed upon, the final number for the next seven years is still on air, and we can just hope it is not reduced.

Another concern for AEGEE is the risk that these employments and internships will end up being a source of cheap labour force for companies, affecting salaries and having a backfire effect. The implementation of the Youth Guarantee will require a brave collaboration from companies, and it should be monitored to prevent the misuse of the scheme and the proliferation of unstable or low-waged jobs, unpaid traineeships, and other forms ways to undervalue the work of young people.

What we want the EU Member States to take into account: the cost of implementing the Youth Guarantee (estimated by the ILO – International Labour Organization – in 0.2% of European combined GDP) will be small compared with the costs of not tackling the problem once and for all. A recent study by the European Policy Centre estimated that achieving the EU’s 75% employment rate target by 2020 would generate up to €1.2 trillion in extra revenues for EU Member States (7% of GDP). We hope this are strong enough numbers to convince the European Council to adopt the EC Recommendation as soon as possible. Ideally it should be approved in the Council of Feb 28th, 2013 and should start to work in 2014. And it is already late.

There were other measures included in the package presented by the European Commission, like advances in the Quality Assurance for Internships, or the setting up of a European Alliance for Apprenticeships. But none of them can compare with the potential impact of the Youth Guarantee. This is what the youth sector had been demanding: strong, brave decisions. Now AEGEE calls for the Member States to accept the challenge and approve in the Council its implementation.

Written by the Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe

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