Federalism / Politics

JEF Europe’s resolution: “Thinking ahead to empower young people”

JEF Europe's logo.

JEF Europe’s logo.

Fully alarmed by unprecedented levels of youth unemployment arising in the fourth year of the crisis, amounting to currently 23 per cent across Europe, with alerting peaks of over 50 per cent in Greece and Spain;

Deeply concerned by the proportion of European youth in neither employment, nor in education (NEETs), with alarming heights of over 20 per cent in Turkey, Italy, Spain and Greece;

Recognising that unemployed young people are a symptom of the much broader consequences of the financial and debt-driven crisis in Europe and the as yet not overall successful measures to solve it;

Expecting severe consequences of these high unemployment levels for economic and social development not to be limited to countries with the currently highest youth unemployment rates;

Emphasising that on the macro-economic level, these developments risk an increase in poverty rates and welfare costs while tax intake is being reduced; brain drain and wasted skills and talent of young people; increasing apathy against society and foreigners, rising youth delinquency and extremist groups;

Aware of the devastating consequences for those young people reporting social exclusion and feelings of alienation; demotivation for further activity; risk behaviour such as substance abuse; and an increase in physical and mental health problems;

Pointing towards important measures such as the Youth Guarantee and EU subsidies for reducing high levels of youth unemployment neither of which have proved to be successful to this day, partly due to a lack of proper implementation at the national level, which will most likely not tackle the underlying problem of social imbalances across Europe in the long term;

Recalling that all these problems will lead to general and widespread disempowerment of a great number of young people across Europe these days.

Therefore, JEF Europe

Calls for immediate measures that will facilitate crucial youth empowerment across Europe;

1. Strengthening mobility of young people across Europe

Recommends facilitating the mobility of young people throughout Europe by recognising foreign qualifications more quickly via more efficient administrative procedures;

Urges the EU and the Member States to support greater teaching of foreign languages as linguistic diversity is a characteristic of the European identity that constitutes an obstacle to cross border mobility of those less equipped with linguistic skills;

Further reminds that young people should have better possibilities to live, study, volunteer and work across Europe, yet this should not become an alleged obligation;

2. Widening vocational training schemes

Calls for the implementation of vocational training in different countries, i.e. cooperation between business associations and trade unions as well as universities and institutions of vocational training to facilitate the creation of training profiles targeted to economic needs so that young people do not risk unemployment subsequent to the completion of formal education;

Further invites a strengthened cooperation between neighbouring regions with regard to joint vocational training programmes;

3. Developing youth entrepreneurship

Recommends developing young people’s entrepreneurial skills in schools and universities and through non-formal and informal learning activities;

Endorses recognition of and improvements to the learning value of engaging in youth-led initiatives for developing one’s entrepreneurial skills;

Stresses the need to reduce administrative burdens to business creation and improving access to finance and funding for setting up a business as well as improving social security for young entrepreneurs;

Calls upon businesses to increase their offer of real-life business experience to young people interested in creating their own company, through internships, mentoring and partnerships;

4. Preventing long-term employment in the secondary labour market

Condemns the risk of young people being employed in the secondary labour market for long-term periods due to, e.g., series of unpaid internships;

Further draws attention to the fact that this risk might result from the current provisions of the Youth Guarantee;

Calls for prohibiting unpaid internships for a duration of more than three months and stricter regulation of special-order contracts;

Requests, further, responses by the European Commission to demonstrate concrete measures on how the Youth Guarantee is supposed to be implemented and financed by member states;

5. Empowering young people through mentoring

Recommends the implementation of mentoring programmes that help young people during the transition between education and employment [e.g. ‘Arbeiterkind’ or ‘Rock Your Life’ in Germany]

6. Strengthening cooperation among different generations

Expresses hope for strengthened cooperation between generations, e.g. by implementing programmes of multiple generation houses where people of different ages live together and support each other in their lives;

7. Reducing macro-economic imbalances across Europe as a long-term solution

Recalls, in conclusion, that the adjustment of macro-economic imbalances has to be a priority for further EU policy-making to mitigate and prevent highly unbalanced youth unemployment, and the resulting youth disempowerment, in the future.

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