MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on youth employment
15.7.2014 - (2014/2713(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure
Jutta Steinruck, Maria João Rodrigues, Agnes Jongerius, Javier López Fernández, Sion Simon, Brando Maria Benifei, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Maria Arena, Marita Ulvskog on behalf of the S&D Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0027/2014
European Parliament resolution on youth employment
The European Parliament,
– having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2013 on tackling youth unemployment: possible ways out,
– having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2010 on promoting youth access to the labour market, strengthening trainee, internship and apprenticeship status,
– having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2014 on employment and social aspects of the role and operations of the Troika (ECB, Commission and IMF) with regard to euro area programme countries,
– having regard to its resolution on 25 February 2014 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2014,
– having regard to the Commission communication on the implementation of the Youth Opportunities Initiative (COM(2012)0727),
– having regard to the European Council conclusions of 7 February 2013 on a Youth Employment Initiative,
– having regard to the Commission proposal of 5 December 2012 entitled ‘Towards a quality framework on traineeships. Second-stage consultation of the social partners at European level under Article 154 TFEU’ (COM(2012)0728),
– having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council recommendation of 5 December 2012 on a Youth Guarantee (COM(2012)0729),
– having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2013 on a Youth Guarantee,
– having regard to the political agreement reached in Council on 28 February 2013 on a Council recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 27 April 2009 entitled ‘An EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering. A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities’ (COM(2009)0200),
– having regard to the statement by the Members of the European Council of 30 January 2012 entitled ‘Towards growth-friendly consolidation and job-friendly growth’,
– having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020,
– having regard to the European Quality Charter of Internships and Apprenticeships, developed by the European Youth Forum together with social partners and other stakeholders,
– having regard to the Eurofound report of 22 October 2012 entitled ‘NEETs: young people not in employment, education or training: characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe’,
– having regard to the Eurofound report of 21 December 2012 entitled ‘Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people’,
– having regard to the Eurofound report of 29 April 2011 entitled ‘Helping young workers during the crisis: contributions by social partners and public authorities’,
– having regard to its report on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour market and the external dimension of social security coordination in the EU (2012/2131(INI)),
– having regard to the Eurofound report of 7 February 2012 entitled ‘Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs)’,
– having regard to the Eurofound report of 15 January 2013 entitled ‘Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems’,
– having regard to EC Recommendation C(2013) 778 final of 20 February 2013, ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’,
– having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas unemployment is a major cause of inequality, with youth unemployment rates having reached unprecedented levels, averaging 23 % for the EU as a whole, and whereas youth unemployment is unevenly distributed across the EU, with unemployment rates among young people aged 16 to 25 being higher than 50 % in some Member States;
B. whereas the labour market situation is particularly critical for young people, regardless of their level of education, since they often end up either unemployed or with limited employment contracts while receiving lower wages and a lower level of social protection, or are forced to accept precarious employment contracts or unpaid traineeships; whereas this situation is provoking forced migration that further exacerbates the effects of an ongoing brain-drain, and increases the persistent divergences between Member States supplying employment and Member States supplying a low-cost workforce;
C. whereas young people mainly enter the labour market via atypical, highly flexible, insecure and precarious forms of employment (marginal part-time, temporary or zero- hours contract, etc.), and the likelihood that this is a stepping stone to permanent employment is low;
D. whereas youth unemployment can also be linked to the early school leaving (ESL) problem, to inadequate education and training systems, and to the lack of technical and specialised training schemes or their insufficient connection with the labour market;
E. whereas female and male youth unemployment and job insecurity have specific characteristics that have to be taken into account;
F. whereas it has been acknowledged by the Commission that austerity policies have had a negative impact in increasing inequalities, poverty and in-work poverty, and involving cuts in education, social services, public service jobs and active labour market policies and reducing chances for young people to re-enter education;
G. whereas 7.5 million young Europeans between 15 and 24 are not employed, not in education and not in training (NEETs) and whereas, in the EU28 in 2012, 29.7 % of young people aged between 15 and 29 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion;
H. whereas the current limitation of the youth guarantee to age 25 is insufficient as it does not take into account the 6.8 million NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) who are aged between 25 and 30;
I. whereas more than half of young Europeans feel that in their country young people have been marginalised and excluded from economic and social life; whereas as a consequence, Europe faces the loss of a generation of young people who, because of insufficient access and precarious temporary jobs, will lack suitable training for a position on the labour market in the longer term;
J. whereas only 7.5 million people, or 3.1 % of the workforce in the EU, are currently employed in another Member State, and whereas young people are the group most likely to be mobile;
K. whereas the causes of youth unemployment cannot be reduced to skill mismatches, because they are linked to issues like the lack of new jobs due to the deindustrialisation of Europe, outsourcing and speculation, and this situation has been aggravated by the crisis and austerity policies; whereas education and training alone cannot solve the problem of youth unemployment;
L. whereas any measures or programmes introduced to boost youth employment should include the consultation and/or cooperation of all relevant stakeholders on the respective levels, especially Social Partners and youth organisations;
N. whereas in a 2014 survey 51 % of young people said that the number one priority of the European Parliament should be to defend human rights, including economic and social rights;
O. whereas the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) has estimated the yearly costs of youth unemployment to be EUR 153 billion;
P. whereas the situation of unemployment and youth unemployment is also affected by the lack of common European economic policies for job creation; whereas the EU’s long-term spending plan does not sufficiently address the need for modern economic and infrastructural investments, thanks also to the excessive rigidity of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the inadequate financial resources of the EU budget;
1. Warns that there will be no significant sustainable economic growth in the EU unless inequalities are reduced, and recalls that this starts with reducing unemployment, especially youth unemployment, and alleviating poverty;
2. Is concerned that more than 20 Member States have reduced education expenditure in relative terms (as a percentage of GDP), thereby jeopardising their growth and jobs potential and their competitiveness; points out that reducing such investment will increase the EU’s structural weakness, given the mismatch between the growing need for high-skilled workers and the fact that in many Member States a high proportion of the workforce is currently low-skilled;
3. Notes the adoption of a resolution on the EU Work Plan for Youth by the Council on 20 May 2014, but regrets that it does not promote a genuine cross-sectorial cooperation on youth issues and does not involve young people in the process;
4. Regrets that the Council resolution of 20 May 2014 on structured dialogue and the social inclusion of young people failed to reflect the core messages and input from young people, such as the need for quality employment and better access to welfare, wellbeing and solidarity, and that the resolution did not commit to any concrete policies for better social inclusion of young people;
5. Regrets that the Council priorities, as published by the European Council on 27 June 2014 as a strategic agenda for the EU and the new European Commission, do not include targeted measures and investment to help in the creation of quality jobs for young people;
6. Stresses that, given the consequences of the crisis for young people, regular monitoring and commitments are needed from Member States in order to improve the situation of young people; calls on the Commission to adopt a specific set of indicators to monitor youth skills’ status within the EU semester, accounting as well for the root causes of low skills development, including inequalities in learning and developmental paths from childhood along with ‘inherited’ factors shaping opportunities;
7. Warns that internships, which can be valuable for gaining work experience, need to be properly regulated as they are often badly paid or not paid at all, and in many cases are used as job replacements, leading to a two-class labour market and worsening the disadvantaged position of young people in the labour market;
8. Warns that the effects of youth unemployment are particularly hard on women, people with disabilities and disadvantaged groups in society such as migrants and minorities; notes that although young women are usually better-educated while underpaid in employment, unemployment in their early career can feed into a cycle of pay inequality in the future; stresses that young people with a migrant or ethnic background, owing to restricted equal learning opportunities and frequent discrimination by job placement services, have less chances of finding a job or suitable education or training;
9. Stresses that Member States should take the position of older workers into account while implementing policies to tackle youth unemployment, and support job-sharing and mentor/mentee programmes involving older and young workers;
10. Regrets the cancellation of the summit of heads of state and government scheduled to take place on 11 July 2014 in Turin; calls on Member States to prioritise the issue of the slow-moving implementation of the Youth Guarantee at the next EPSCO Council informal meeting, to be held on 17 and 18 July 2014;
Rights-based approach to employment
11. Urges the Commission and the Member States to take a rights-based approach to youth and employment; stresses that, particularly in times of crisis, the quality of work for young people must not be compromised and that the core labour standards and other standards related to the quality of work, such as working time, minimum wage, social security, and occupational health and safety, must be central considerations in the efforts that are made;
12. Calls on Member States to ensure that young people have access to quality jobs that respect their rights, including the right to stability and security, through a job that offers a living wage and social protection and enables a secure life of dignity and autonomy; in order to protect young workers from discrimination and exploitation, urges the adoption of a directive on decent working conditions, defining core labour rights for all workers and introducing common minimum standards;
13. Emphasises the need for an active, comprehensive and integrated labour market policy with special measures for young people;
14. Stresses that, given predicted rapid labour market changes, today more than ever strong investments in education and training are necessary; emphasises that skills policies should not only be seen as a means to fulfil labour market needs, but should also recognise competences acquired through non-formal education, support the implementation of lifelong learning policies and ultimately be part of a holistic approach to education; calls for the adoption of binding common quality standards, and at European level and for every citizen, for education, training and lifelong learning;
15. Urges the Commission to address the issue of precarious work, to regulate contractual arrangements by exploring different options tackling the issue of labour market polarisation due to the poor conditions offered to low-skilled workers, and to protect young people against in-work precariousness and poverty;
16. Stresses that an end must be put to discrimination based on age when it comes to accessing social and employment benefits, including conditional access to unemployment benefits; stresses that the imposition of lower minimum wages for young people, irrespective of working experience or capability, is not only an expression of disregard for the most vulnerable on the labour market but is also a clear case of age discrimination;
17. Recalls that due to the crisis and the divergent economic situation across EU Member States, forced mobility of young people is an increasing reality; urges Member States to ensure that the fundamental freedom of movement is not restricted and that access to public services to young mobile students and workers in not limited or denied; in this sense, calls on the Commission to put forward proposals to further facilitate the voluntary mobility of young people across the European Union, also as a means to achieve the completion of the EU single market;
Youth Guarantee, YEI and QFT
18. Calls for an efficient monitoring of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee; calls on the Commission to monitor closely the challenges that have been identified in the 2014 Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) regarding the quality of offers and the lack of active outreach to NEETs, as well as the administrative capacity of public employment services and the lack of effective engagement with all the relevant partners, while at the same time identifying best practices that might function as a reference for programme improvements;
19. Calls for the reduction of youth unemployment to be made a specific objective under the European Semester; also calls for compulsory measures to combat youth unemployment to be included in the CSRs and the national reform programmes (NRPs); calls on the Commission to closely monitor and review the introduction of such measures; calls for the comprehensive involvement of Parliament in this regard under the European Semester process;
20. Recalls that the EUR 6 billion allocated to the YEI are not sufficient to combat youth unemployment in a lasting manner and therefore should form an initial tranche; emphasises that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has calculated that EUR 21 billion are needed to implement an effective programme to combat youth unemployment in the eurozone alone; considers this higher investment to be necessary and reasonable, given the annual economic loss of EUR 153 billion in the Member States arising from the disengagement of young people from the labour market, corresponding to 1.2 % of EU GDP; underlines, moreover, that as of the 2016 budget the YEI will no longer be funded; calls on the Commission to come up with a proposal in due time to ensure the continuation of funding of the YEI as of the 2016 budget, by using all instruments available under the MFF 2014-2020 regulation: calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to make the Youth Guarantee a priority and to increase its budget allocation for the overall period 2014-2020 when deciding on the compulsory post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014 -20, which is due to take place at the end of 2016 at the very latest;
21. Calls for action to prevent the implementation of the YEI from being manipulated and used to aggravate national processes of internal devaluation of wages; warns that misuse of the funds dedicated to the YEI by financing labour costs without requiring sufficient guarantees can lead to older workers being fired simply because they would be more expensive than young workers hired through a YEI programme;
22. Calls on the Commission to propose a European legal framework, introducing binding minimum standards for the implementation of the youth guarantees, including the quality of apprenticeships, decent wages for young people and access to employment services, and also covering young people aged between 25 and 30, where the existing recommendations on youth guarantees are not respected by Member States;
23. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make sure that bureaucratic procedures are not preventing the efficient delivery of the EUR 6 billion allocated to the YEI to implement the Youth Guarantee as a matter of urgency; regrets recent reports that some Member States will not make full use of their funding allocations through the YEI; underlines in this regard once again the importance of full and efficient use of these resources, and considers it vital not to miss any opportunity for financing much- needed active labour market measures in order to reduce levels of youth unemployment; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make funds available through the EIB for private-sector initiatives aimed at creating jobs and work/training places;
24. Urges Member States to go above and beyond the March 2014 Council Recommendation for a Quality Framework for Traineeships, in order to prevent discrimination against and exploitation of young workers; calls for the adoption of a directive on decent conditions and minimum standards for internships and traineeships, giving interns and trainees clearly defined rights that include access to social protection, written and binding contracts and fair remuneration, and also introducing limits on the use of trainees and interns in companies to prevent abuses;
25. Calls on the Member States to set up or improve vocational education and training systems; stresses that in order to improve the transition from school to work, a European framework for dual education should be set up, based on European best practices in this field; further suggests the EU-wide use of ‘Ice-Breaker Schemes’ giving practical work experience to young graduates and those who have already done vocational training, with companies recruiting them for six to twelve months in order to solve a specific problem centred on innovation and development;
26. Stresses the good experiences from countries with vocational training and dual-track education systems in terms of improving the education-to-work transition, thus bridging the gap between training skills and labour market demands; emphasises that the Commission’s task is to give active support to such efforts, and calls on the Commission to report regularly on Member States’ reform efforts with regard to vocational training systems; stresses that special attention should be paid to vulnerable groups at high risk of social exclusion, including NEETs; calls on the Commission to produce an annual report on the reform of vocational training systems in the Member States, thereby making a long-term structural contribution to improving young people’s decent employability;
27. Urges, in the field of vocational education and the dual vocational training system in particular, that all relevant stakeholders should be involved, especially the social partners and educational institutions; stresses in this context that enterprises and educational institutions have a responsibility for ensuring that pupils and students receive training with a focus on practical experience;
28. Stresses that the Youth Employment Initiative should not prevent Member States from using other EU programmes, e.g. under the European Social Fund or ERASMUS +, to finance broader projects related to youth, especially on poverty and social inclusion; underlines the importance of Member States allocating the necessary cofinancing in this regard; calls on the Commission to monitor the use of ESF funds for youth-related projects;
29. Stresses that young entrepreneurs must be supported financially and administratively, particularly in countries in crisis; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to install specific support mechanisms for young entrepreneurs aged under 30; one example could be microcredits for start-ups, as foreseen in the EaSI programme;
30. Stresses the important role of the social partners in combating youth unemployment; considers support of national trade unions and full respect for national practices and industrial relations systems to form a necessary prerequisite for all measures to establish and improve working conditions, wages and remuneration for young people;
Investment and the macroeconomic dimension
31. Stresses that, even if supply-side measures - such as skills development and labour market regulations - can play a role in fighting youth unemployment, macroeconomic and demand-side factors should be better taken into account;
32. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish measures to reduce inequalities and create jobs, boosting demand through policies focused on increasing wages and introducing minimum wages (statutory or based on collective agreements; sector-specific or cross-sectoral), strengthening direct transfers through a fairer tax policy and minimum income schemes, and ensuring strong social protection and better public services and social services, especially health and education;
33. Urges the Commission and the Member States to establish an action plan for job creation as soon as possible, prioritised for those regions with more than 25 % youth unemployment, investing in sustainable industries, especially SMEs, and in services, training and education, research and development, modern transport infrastructures, the reindustrialisation of the EU, efficient private services and quality public services, and the green transition, in order to progress towards an innovative and knowledge-based economy while keeping an eye on job creation for future generations; stresses that this investment must be viewed as a key investment in the future of Europe;
34. Calls on the Commission to find special solutions for those countries with very high unemployment rates which will not be able to make use of available EU funds due to cofinancing problems; asks the Commission, to this end, to explore, for Member States in difficulties, the possibility of reducing or supressing the cofinancing of EU funds or programmes dedicated to combating youth unemployment (under heading 1 (‘Sustainable growth’) of the MFF); asks the Commission and Member States also to consider exempting Member States’ cofinancing of measures to combat youth unemployment from the calculation of the excessive deficit;
35. Welcomes the intention of the Italian Presidency to start discussing the establishment of an EMU-wide unemployment benefit system as a tool for asymmetric shock absorption at central level, as well as to consider with special attention the issue of automatic stabilisers in the framework of the discussion on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union;
Prioritising youth rights
36. Calls on the Council to ensure that the EU Work Plan for Youth is implemented and ensures genuine cross-sectorial cooperation and the involvement of young people;
37. Calls on the Commission to propose measures to the Council and Parliament aimed at encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe, in line with Article 165 TFEU;
38. Urges the Council to finally adopt the Directive on Equal Treatment first proposed by the Commission in 2008, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of age and on a number of other grounds.
-  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0365.
-  OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 30.
-  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0240.
-  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0129.
-  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0016.
-  P7_TA(2011)0453.
-  COM (2013)0801 - Draft joint employment report.
European Commission Working Paper 1/2013 Bantout and Lokajickova: Social protection budgets in the crisis in the EU.
-  Eurostat: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=yth_incl_010&lang=en
-  Eurobarometer Survey on European Youth in April 2014.
-  European Commission 2013 – Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review.
-  European Commission 2013 – Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review.
-  European Parliament Flash Eurobarometer: ‘European Youth in 2014’, April 2014.
-  Eurofound (2012), NEETs - Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.