EU leaders must move away from rhetoric on a ‘lost generation’ and towards real actions and solutions for Europe’s young people.
This was the key message from Ireland East MEP, Liam Aylward, during a debate on the ‘Implementation of the European Youth Strategy’ in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.
Speaking during a debate on Youth Strategy Report, the Ireland East MEP urged EU leaders and member state authorities to “stop talking about the tragedy of a ‘lost generation” and to move towards implementing the tools in place to assist young people, improve training and job opportunities and bridge the skills gap”.
“Efforts need to be stepped up to combat youth unemployment, to promote all forms of education and training and to increase targeted funding for young people. There needs to be a clear focus on youth across all EU Programmes, member states have the responsibility to take the tools and funding in place and implement them in an effective way.”
Speaking on the challenge of securing meaningful training and job opportunities Mr Aylward stated that “the rise in precarious forms of employment, with short-term and part-time contracts and unpaid work placement schemes often replacing existing jobs, is a significant obstacle for young people”.
“Aside from the economic and social effects of the job crisis, it is also seriously impacting on young people’s capacity to lead independent lives. It has the potential to cause significant mental health problems including depression among the younger generation. Vulnerable groups and disadvantaged youth are at particular risk of social exclusion and being left behind both socially and professionally.”
While he welcomed the allocation of €6 billion to tackle youth unemployment in the EU, Mr Aylward stated that this amount is wholly inadequate in the face of the challenges facing Europe’s youth.
He also called for the Youth Guarantee scheme, which aims to provide young people with meaningful and relevant training and work opportunities, to be extended from 25 years to 30 years of age.