Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education has strongly criticised the proposed cuts to the budget of Erasmus for All Programme, a key programme for youth and education for the period 2014-2020.
Speaking following a European Parliament Committee exchange of views on this issue the Ireland East MEP highlighted that:
“The cuts are completely at odds with the commitment of EU member states to tackle the ongoing problem of youth unemployment and to strengthen social cohesion. It is essential that pressure is kept on EU leaders to save the proposed investment in education and youth. We must mobilize all of our resources to offer real solutions to our young people; otherwise we face the risk of a “lost” generation.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels the Ireland East MEP has urged EU leaders and the European Commission to show greater leadership in dealing with the chronic unemployment situation facing European young people.
“The youth unemployment rate has soared to 23.5%, leaving 5.68 million young people unemployed and 42% of those who do obtain work are only guaranteed temporary contracts. We need decisive action and funding to tackle this, not more rhetoric.”
“There has been much speculation about cuts in recent months and it is clear that this is a contentious issue and one which we need to resolve without delay if the EU is to have an effective Youth and Education Programme, which will deliver for young people, in place for the deadline of January 2014”
There are varying positions on the budget proposals with the EU Commission proposing a linear cut of 15% for the new Erasmus for All Programme. The Ireland East MEP criticised EU leaders for their lack of understanding and vision in relation to youth, training and education in Europe.
“Implementation of these cuts will mean that higher and vocational education would suffer a loss of 150 to 200 million Euros a year when compared to the original budget proposal for 2011.”
The EU budget agreement, under which the Youth & Education programme is covered, has to be agreed in the European Parliament in the coming months and is likely to face strong opposition from MEPs.