Procedure : 2014/2713(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0055/2014

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PV 17/07/2014 - 10.6
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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on Youth employment  (2014/2713(RSP))

Inês Cristina Zuber, Thomas Händel, Patrick Le Hyaric, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Paloma López, Lynn Boylan, Rina Ronja Kari, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Younous Omarjee, Kateřina Konečná, Miloslav Ransdorf, Jiří Maštálka, Sofia Sakorafa, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Kostas Chrysogonos, Emmanouil Glezos, Kostadinka Kuneva, Georgios Katrougkalos, Pablo Iglesias, Pablo Echenique Robba, Carlos Jiménez Villarejo on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on Youth employment  (2014/2713(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Council resolution of 20 May 2014 on structured dialogue and the social inclusion of young people,

–       having regard to the European Council summit of 26-27 June 2014,

–       having regard to the Council conclusions on promoting youth employment to achieve the Europe 2020 objectives, adopted in Luxembourg on 17 June 2011,

–       having regard to the Council conclusions on a Compact for Growth and Jobs of 28-29 June 2012, highlighting the need to combat rising youth unemployment,

–       having regard to the European Council conclusions on a Youth Employment Initiative of 7 February 2013,

–       having regard to the political agreement reached in the Council on 28 February 2013 on a Council recommendation on Establishing a Youth Guarantee,

–       having regard to the joint contribution of the governments of France and Germany in preparation for the 27-28 June 2013 Council meeting entitled ‘France and Germany – Together for a stronger Europe of Stability and Growth’ of 30 May 2013,

–       having regard to the Commission Communication of 29 May 2013 entitled ‘2013 European Semester: Country Specific Recommendations – Moving Europe beyond the crisis’ (COM (2013)0350) and the proposed recommendations,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas 25.1 million people are unemployed, 22.8 % of young people in the EU are unemployed, some Member States have a youth unemployment rate above the European average, namely Greece (57.7 %), Spain (54 %), Italy (43 %), Cyprus (36 %) and Portugal (34.8 %), 8.3 million young people under 25 are inactive, 19 % of children are threatened by poverty, 8 % of people suffer from severe material deprivation, 15 % of children leave school without reaching secondary education, 24.2 % of people are at risk of poverty, the working poor represent a third of working-age adults at risk of poverty and the number of people homeless at night in the EU is 410 000;

B.     whereas in 2013 13 % young people aged 15-24 and 21 % aged 25-29 were not in education, employment or training (NEETs); whereas the economic loss due to this high number of NEETs was estimated at EUR 153 billion, corresponding to 1.2 % of EU GDP(1);

C.     whereas youth unemployment rates range from less than 5 % in some regions to over 60 % in others, illustrating a high level of disparity among European regions; whereas the outermost regions are particularly affected by youth unemployment, this situation being aggravated by remoteness and insularity;

D.     points out that the crisis and the EU’s ill-fated policy mix of austerity plus neo-liberal structural reforms contributed to a historically low level of private sector investment in the economy, as mass purchasing power has been diminished, internal demand depressed, income inequality and poverty risen, as is most dramatically illustrated in the countries under Troika tutelage;

E.     whereas the deregulation of labour markets in recent decades has left the majority of young people accessing employment mostly through fixed-term contracts, part-time jobs, unremunerated work placement schemes and generally precarious forms of employment, despite all former expectations that ‘demographic ageing’ would make it easier for them to access permanent, full-time employment with decent remuneration, rights and social protection;

F.     whereas the ‘reforms’ of education systems, for instance through the Bologna process, and the austerity policies imposed in various member states have undone many of the steps towards a more accessible education system; whereas the need for an education system that is publicly owned, democratically run, accessible to all and free of charge at the point of use has therefore become more urgent with a view to to providing young people – and in particular the most vulnerable among them – with accessible good‑quality education;

G.     whereas youth unemployment is an important contributing factor to the sharp rise in the emigration of young people from a number of Member States, most profoundly from the so-called ‘programme countries’ and others, such as Spain and Italy, to richer Member States; refers, in this context, to a study by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)(2) that showed that 70 % of young people questioned see themselves emigrating within the next 12 months; whereas this mass emigration – often of young people with higher-education qualifications – has deprived these countries of an important layer of their most dynamic people and has a devastating effect on local communities and their future prospects for sustainable economic and social development;

H.     whereas austerity, fiscal retrenchment and neo-liberal ‘structural reforms’ advocated by the Commission and the Council in the framework of the European Semester since 2010, and pursued by most Member States – in particular those under the tutelage of the Commission-ECB-IMF troika in so-called programme countries and others, such as Spain and Italy – increased deflationary pressures on an overall fragile and stagnating EU economy, depressed wages, internal demand and tax revenues, dismantled the ‘automatic stabilisers’, such as social protection systems and public investment, and thus pushed most of the EU economy into a prolonged stagnation and crisis, also dashing all former claims that not only current budget deficits, but in particular the ratio of public debt/GDP can be substantially reduced and fiscal consolidation achieved via this approach; stresses the need to repudiate all odious and unsustainable debt;

I.      whereas the strengthening of the EMU will lead to the deepening of the current policies which are responsible for the huge unemployment rate in the eurozone Member States, particularly in those with so-called Memoranda of Understanding;

J.      whereas these neo-liberal policies greatly contributed to the rise of unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular, generating more social exclusion and poverty, and thus led to severe social regression, a further weakened economy and the destabilisation of European integration and democracy;

K.     whereas at a summit in June 2013, they agreed to disburse about EUR 8 billion – more than the EUR 6 billion originally earmarked in February of that year – to fight youth joblessness, with the bulk being made available over a two-year period starting in 2014 and the remainder becoming available over the full seven years of the next EU budget; whereas during the EU Council summit, an EU head of state admitted that the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), launched a year previously, had so far been a failure;

L.     whereas the anticipated EU Presidency conference on youth and employment has been postponed to the end of the year, therefore delaying any active implementation of the announced priority objectives of the ongoing presidency;

1.      Condemns the fact 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 of young people, such as the need for quality employment, better access to welfare, social rights and solidarity, and that the resolution did not commit to any concrete policies for better social inclusion of young people;

2.      Criticises strongly the fact that the Council priorities, published on 27 June 2014, as a strategic agenda for the EU and the new Commission, do not include targeted measures and investment to help in the creation of quality jobs for young people;

3.      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, in this context, on Member States to address the issue of youth unemployment during the next EPSCO informal Council on 17 and 18 July 2014 in Milan;

4.      Stresses that the EU and Member States need to pursue a radical shift in macroeconomic policies with the public sector becoming the driving force in economic recovery, assuring high-quality employment with guaranteed workers’ rights and decent social protection in order to kick-start the economy; demands the end of the austerity policies in all Member States;

5.      Stresses that the strengthening of the EMU will lead to the deepening of the current policies which are responsible for the huge unemployment rate in the eurozone Member States, particularly in those with so-called Memoranda of Understanding;

6.      Criticises strongly the Commission’s overall approach in its communication on the 2014 Country-Specific recommendations on ‘combating unemployment’ by further increasing the flexibility of labour markets and reducing ‘the relatively high costs of labour’ etc.; points out that it was and is these neo-liberal ‘structural reforms’ of labour markets pursued by Member States which are responsible for the drastic increase in the precarious forms of employment, reduced levels of social protection and the expansion of low-wage sectors that are so greatly deplored by the Commission’s employment reports – developments that affect in particular young people and their employment prospects very negatively;

7.      Underlines the fact that the EU should promote youth employment and job sharing by stimulating measures such as an early retirement age, and a reduction in working hours without cutting salaries, pensions and social rights;

8.      Emphasises that the Youth Guarantee should have been established for young people below the age of 30 immediately upon facing unemployment; highlights the fact that the funding allocated to the YEI is far below that which would be necessary to have a real impact on youth unemployment; refers, in this context, to the ILO study ‘Euro Zone job crisis: trends and policy responses’, which points to the need for EUR 21 billion to be injected in order to have an impact on the level of youth unemployment;

9.      Stresses that the Youth Employment Initiative should not prevent Member States from using the European Social Fund to finance broader projects related to young people, especially on poverty and social inclusion; calls the Commission to monitor the use of ESF funds for youth-related projects;

10.    Emphasises that this programme should contribute to guaranteeing the maintenance of jobs in the companies which benefit and that traineeships should be turned into permanent contracts; points out that the support to companies must be temporary and with clearly defined counterparts, in particular regarding the maintenance of jobs, complying with the standards set down in national legislation and collective labour agreements, and fulfilment of tax and social security obligations;

11.    Recommends, for all Member States, including in the education system, mandatory training on labour rights and occupational health;

12.    Urges the Member States and social partners to address the issue of precarious work and to regulate contractual arrangements through exploring different options tackling the issue of a polarisation of the labour market and to protect young people against in‑work precariousness and promote permanent contracts;

13.    Stresses that an end must be put to discrimination based on age when it comes to accessing social benefits, including conditional access to unemployment benefits;

14.    Stresses that the crisis and austerity policies led to the increasing rate of forced migration of young people;

15.    Calls on the Member States to ensure high-quality frameworks for traineeships, making sure that traineeships are tailored to the needs of young people and include decent remuneration, social protection, including adequate contributions for future retirement, labour and trade union rights and working conditions that do not undermine the jobs, wages and conditions of the existing workforce, backed up by financial support and mandatory monitoring, as well as a common quality standard for traineeships; calls for an increase in labour inspection mechanisms detection to limit the use of trainees to replace regular workers and to safeguard common safety standards for protection at work;

16.    Urges the EU and Member States to create measures to prevent the creation of false self-employed workers – such as sanctioning and penalising companies that hire workers as independent who were previously staff workers , or companies without their own staff and those that are engaged in hiring in temporary work agencies;

17.    Calls on the Member States to guarantee that all unemployed persons who receive support be assisted to enable each worker’s specific training, skills, and, where applicable, vocational retraining needs to be determined at the time when job offers are being assessed and after a worker has accepted a job, the aim being to ascertain whether the conditions laid down are being complied with and to determine the extent to which the worker has adapted to the circumstances;

18.    Calls on the Commission and agencies such as Eurofound and Cedefob to analyse existing systems of dual professional education to provide this information to other Member States which are interested in these systems on a voluntary basis, without lowering the education standards that already exist;

19.    Calls on the Member States and the Commission to support the creation of jobs with extended public investments in sustainable growth, especially in the social and public health sector, as well as in infrastructure and public education;

20.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to work towards the reinforcement of legislation on non-discrimination against women; calls on the Member States to guarantee by law equal access to first employment and guarantee equality in the conditions of vocational training for young women by removing discriminatory conditions, such as the ‘glass ceiling’, and promote real action to achieve the emancipation of young women as regards employment;

21.    Urges the Commission and the Member States to evaluate on a regular basis the outcome of YEI operational programmes and to allow public access to all databases;

22.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.


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.


National Youth Council of Ireland (2010), Youth unemployment in Ireland - The forgotten generation,

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