The Irish Presidency of the European Council has listed tackling youth unemployment as a priority objective for its tenure. 

Speaking from the European Parliament following the debate on the Irish Presidency today, MEP for Ireland East, Liam Aylward has welcomed this decision and has urged EU leaders and the European Commission to show greater leadership in dealing with the chronic situation facing European young people.

“The youth unemployment rate has soared to 23.4 %, leaving 5.68 million young people unemployed, we need decisive action and funding to tackle this, not more proposals and debate.”

“With Ireland in the Council Chair we have a real opportunity to move beyond talking about a “lost generation” and ensure the measures to assist them are implemented and operational.”

Speaking on the European Youth Guarantee scheme the Ireland East called on the Commission and the Presidency to ensure that the scheme is fully supported operationally and financially but also that it seen as the start of the process for European young people and not as the only solution.

“Young people who do get on the employment ladder are finding themselves in precarious forms of employment, with short-term and part-time contracts and unremunerated work placement schemes replacing existing jobs.  Their skills are mismatched with the roles and their potential contribution to the economy and to growth is being wasted.”

“It is clear that Youth Guarantee schemes must be accompanied by a quality framework in order to ensure that the education, training and jobs offered include appropriate pay, working conditions and health and safety standards”

The Youth Employment Package presented at the end of last year, introduces the concept of a Youth Guarantee to ensure that all young people up to age 25 receive a quality job offer, continued education, an apprenticeship, or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.