Tackling Youth Unemployment in Europe

Written by | Saturday, November 16th, 2013

European leaders have recently announced that they would allocate financial sources for the fight against youth unemployment while making an effort to create job opportunities for the young. The plan for combating youth unemployment was proposed by French President Francois Hollande who hosted the second summit on youth joblessness in Paris in early November. Chancellor Merkel, who was among the guests at the summit, expressed her opinion that jobs cannot be created by a policy, but rather by favorable economic conditions. In her opinion, combating unemployment among those under 25 (currently being around 24 percent) would be a long-term continuous process.
Youth unemployment is a ‘nightmare’ in many southern EU member states, such as Spain or Italy, as described by Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta. Joblessness among the young is among the most crucial issues Italian economy has to deal with these days. Rome reported the youth unemployment rate of about 40 percent in September. Greece, which has the highest total unemployment in the Union (27.6 percent), is facing youth joblessness of more than 57 percent. Spain, although it escaped recession in the third quarter, has the youth unemployment rate of about 56 percent. The overall unemployment rate within the European Union is 12.2 percent, which is the highest figure since the Eurozone was established.
At the summit, Mr. Hollande said that the future of Europe would depend on the opportunities that the EU will be able to offer to the young. Therefore, the EU Commission along with the European Investment Bank agreed to mobilize up to 45 billion EUR in support of anti-youth-unemployment programs that should be distributed by 2015. Greece’s Antonis Samaras described the unprecedented youth joblessness as the biggest economic challenge facing Southern Europe. The chief of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, addressed the issue saying that something must be done, and it must be done quickly.

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