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.