"Europe must redouble efforts in the fight against youth unemployment", say S&D Euro MPs.

youth unemployment

S&D Euro MPs today in Strasbourg called on EU governments to take stronger and more ambitious action against youth unemployment – which is still crushing the hopes of more than 5 million young people in the EU.

In particular, they proposed to increase the current €6.4 billion budget for the European Youth Guarantee for 2014-2016 and to extend it to all young people under 30 years old.

The youth guarantee ensures young people under 25 can get a quality job, training, an education, an apprenticeship within four months of leaving formal education.

S&D MEP and vice-president for economic and social affairs Maria João Rodrigues (Portugal) said:

"In spite of many efforts, the unemployment rate remains very high in Europe, particularly for youth unemployment.

"Something is deeply wrong. We have too many economic and social divergences between member states. These divergences are undermining our European ambition, our European project and our European cohesion.

"There is no future in Europe if there is no future for young people in Europe.  We must tackle this problem more ambitiously."

S&D MEP and spokeswoman on social affairs Jutta Steinruck (Germany) added:

"For many years now the Socialists and Democrats have been calling for stronger, more targeted action to make a real difference, including investment to boost growth, create jobs and make the youth guarantee work for young people.

"Too little has been done so far. The €6 billion for the youth guarantee is not enough. The member states must be given support to put it into practice. We need to make sure that further money is available after 2016. 

"We also want to see standards for implementing the youth guarantee and compulsory targets for fighting youth unemployment within the framework of the European semester.

"We need to be at least as ambitious as we were in rescuing the banks or fighting for freedom of economic activity." 

Today, 7.5 million young Europeans between 15 and 24 are not in employment, not in education and not in training (NEETs). In 2012, 29.7% of young people (15-29) were at risk of poverty or exclusion in the EU.