Hannes Swoboda: "We need European action to fight youth unemployment - not individual campaigning events for leaders"
Ahead of the summit on youth unemployment hosted by Angela Merkel in Berlin tomorrow, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said today in Strasbourg:
"I deplore that Chancellor Merkel has decided to have an extra summit tomorrow.
"Please tell me one good reason why this summit is being held by Ms Merkel – except that the Chancellor has only weeks to go until the elections. It is inefficient if member states focus on bilateral or multilateral talks on this topic and just commit limited funds at a national level when we have the European institutions with a clear mandate and the financial clout to take effective action in Europe.
"The fight against youth unemployment is the most urgent priority we have.
"Our Group has been calling for action to fight youth unemployment for several years now, as well as for a more socially just Europe.
"We now have some progress at European level with the agreement on the table for the multi-annual financial framework, which would allow more funding for the fight against youth unemployment and more flexibility to ensure that we can continue this fight for the whole seven-year period of the budget.
"Of course it is not ideal or as strong as we would have wished, but it goes in the right direction towards creating a social dimension to the economic and monetary union in Europe and a stronger, joint European fight against youth unemployment.
He concluded by calling for a halt to the trend of increased intergovernmentalism:
"All these issues could have been dealt with by the European Council. This is the reason why we have the European Council. The trend towards ever greater intergovernmentalism – as adopted by Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister Schäuble – is unacceptable.
"Chancellor Merkel, use the European institutions if you want to do something for European citizens."