Today, the European Commission has adopted proposals to strengthen the European Youth Guarantee and update the Skills Agenda. Drawing the lessons from the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have been campaigning for binding criteria to provide young people with quality jobs and traineeships, based on written agreements and decent working conditions including social protection and a living wage, career counselling, guidance and further training.
Iratxe García, S&D Group leader, said:
“Solidarity with future generations starts now. The European youth have been hit hard twice and they deserve an opportunity to fulfil their dreams. Our whole society needs their energy and their contribution for the transformation the EU needs if it wants to accomplish sustainability. So, we must find ways to channel their potential.
“The Youth Guarantee is a concrete example of how the Union can help to improve people’s lives. It was born as a Social-Democrat proposal back in 2012 and we must now consolidate it and provide proper funding.”
Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokesperson on employment, said:
“It is high time to invest in young people. With a continuing crisis and with one in five young people being at risk of becoming unemployed, this is the moment to step up our efforts for their well-being and the well-being of our whole society. The highest educated generation in decades needs more than support with skilling alone. They are the ones most often in precarious and non-standard work, so therefore we are calling for investment in quality jobs for youngsters. We aim to not only fight unemployment rates, but that young people receive real and sustainable employment opportunities and are not trapped in more precariousness, are used as cheap or free labour in repeated traineeships or are forced to leave their country to look for jobs elsewhere.
“This crisis cannot be an excuse for any kind of jobs, or quantity over quality. Europe’s youth deserves the perspective of sustainable jobs with decent working conditions and being able to start building a future.”
Petra Kammerevert, S&D spokesperson on education and culture, said:
“As Socialists and Democrats, we welcome the Commission’s aim to set quantitative objectives for the upskilling and reskilling of citizens to be achieved within the next 5 years. This is not only an important step towards more cooperation between member states at a European level on education policies. It could also contribute to making the concept of lifelong learning finally a reality in the EU. Now, all member states must deliver by making the necessary investments in education. Investments in people and their skills were already necessary before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, and in the future, they are even more important. If our citizens do not possess the right skills and are deprived from a good education, both competitiveness and social cohesion are in danger.”
“The key issue is: where will the money for this come from? We understand that the Recovery Plan and the next MFF are to be the sources of financing at EU level. However, it is not clear how the necessary investments will be achieved as the Commission actually plans to cut the budget of those EU programmes directly investing in education and skills, notably Erasmus+ and ESF+. Today’s communications and the budgetary ambitions do not go in the same direction.”
Note to the editor:
The Youth Guarantee is a scheme proposed by the Socialists and Democrats and set up in 2013 by the EU to ensure that every young person under the age of 25 is offered a job, training, an apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of losing a job or leaving education.