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Procedure : 2013/2045(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0275/2013

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PV 10/09/2013 - 17

Votes :

PV 11/09/2013 - 5.17

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013 - Strasbourg Final edition
Tackling youth unemployment: possible ways out

European Parliament resolution of 11 September 2013 on tackling youth unemployment: possible ways out (2013/2045(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2010 on ‘Promoting youth access to the labour market, strengthening trainee, internship and apprenticeship status’,(1)

–  having regard to the Commission communication ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’ (COM(2011)0933), and to its resolution of 24 May 2012 on the Youth Opportunities Initiative(2) and its question for oral answer to the Commission on the Youth Opportunities Initiative(3) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication on the implementation of the Youth Opportunities Initiative (COM(2012)0727),

–  having regard to the Commission communication ‘Youth on the Move’ (COM(2010)0478),

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

–  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 the Eurofound report of 13 June 2012 entitled ‘Youth Guarantee: Experiences from Finland and Sweden’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2013 on a Youth Guarantee(4) ,

–  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 proposal for an amendment to the Commission document ‘Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006’ (COM(2011)0607),

–  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(5) ,

–  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’(6) ,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 21 December 2012 entitled ‘Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people’(7) ,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 29 April 2011 entitled ‘Helping young workers during the crisis: contributions by social partners and public authorities’(8) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2013 on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour market and the external dimension of social security coordination in the EU(9) ,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 7 February 2012 entitled ‘Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs)’(10) ,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 15 January 2013 entitled ‘Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems’(11) ,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0275/2013),

A.  whereas in June 2013 23,5 % of active young people were jobless, with the rates ranging from 10 % or less in Austria and Germany to 64,2 % in Greece, indicating marked geographical differences both between and within Member States; whereas the most recent data and forecasts indicate a continued deterioration in the situation facing young people in some Member States;

B.  whereas unemployment among women aged below 25 continues to rise, having increased from 18,8 % in 2009 to 22,1 % in 2012 and, according to the latest available data, now stands at 22,9 %; whereas attitudes such as discouragement, self-exclusion and disaffection with work are becoming increasingly widespread; whereas young women still face worse labour market conditions than young men, and whereas this is resulting in a significant loss of economic growth potential for Europe through under-utilisation of the skills of highly qualified women;

C.  whereas in 2011 7,5 million young people aged 15-24 and 6,5 million aged 25-29 were not in education, employment or training (NEETs), among them members of vulnerable groups; whereas this could lead to serious personal and social consequences such as insecure future employment prospects and poverty and social exclusion, or even mental and physical dysfunctions; whereas these problems are likely to increase in the near future, and whereas they have serious financial implications for Member States’ welfare systems;

D.  whereas having 14 million NEETs calls for far greater efforts on the part of the Member States and the European institutions to reintegrate young people into the labour market; whereas young people across Europe have significantly differing needs, and therefore any labour market integration measures must be tailored to the needs of each specific group, and where possible also include personal assessment policies;

E.  whereas in 2011 the economic loss due to the disengagement of young people from the labour market was estimated at EUR 153 billion in the Member States, corresponding to 1,2 % of EU GDP(12) ; whereas this sum exceeds by far the estimated EUR 10 billion which would be needed to create 2 million new jobs for young people;(13) whereas this represents a serious long-term social and economic burden for the EU as a whole;

F.  whereas youth unemployment is an important contributing factor to the sharp rise in migration that is taking place in a number of Member States; whereas only a very small minority of those who opt for mobility and migration do so voluntarily, rather than in response to economic imperatives;

G.  whereas major investment is needed in the EU to create growth and jobs and boost domestic demand; whereas an investment package amounting to 2 % of EU GDP is needed to bring about a significant improvement in the short-term economic situation and in the state of affairs on the labour markets of the Member States; whereas this measure would primarily benefit young people, as the group hardest hit by the crisis;

H.  whereas young people are particularly disadvantaged during economic crises, more so than most groups; whereas for many young people current unemployment can be expected to turn into long-term unemployment, greatly increasing the risk of social exclusion; whereas this has alarming consequences for young individuals, lowering their self-esteem, leaving their ambitions unrealised, reducing their earnings and career prospects and delaying their possibilities of assuming an independent adult life including starting a family, and consequently also for society, negatively impacting on the social, economic and demographic situation in Europe in both the short and the long term and increasing the likelihood of young people experiencing poverty in old age as a result of their inability to pay pension contributions throughout their working lives;

I.  whereas Article 13 of the EC Treaty specifically empowers the Community to combat discrimination based on sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; whereas despite Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, young women still suffer age and gender discrimination when they enter the labour market;

J.  whereas despite high overall levels of youth unemployment, approximately four million jobs are vacant in the EU(14) due to skills mismatches; whereas in certain fields, such as the ICT and R&D sectors, there is a persistent and increasing demand for highly-qualified staff which is not met;

K.  whereas the ILO has recommended a budget of EUR 21 billion, equivalent to 0,5 % of all spending in the eurozone, for the full implementation of a youth guarantee in the EU;

L.  whereas in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy the EU has undertaken to raise education levels, reduce school dropout rates to less than 10 % by 2020, increase the rate of completion of tertiary or equivalent education among people in the 30-34 age group to at least 40 %, and increase the employment rate in the 20-64 age group to 75 %;

M.  whereas the crisis has led to an increase in the number of people, and in particular young people, in insecure employment, and whereas many full-time jobs have been replaced by work performed by people on short-term contracts, part-time work and unpaid work;

N.  whereas more and more young people are being forced to take both unpaid and paid traineeships, a state of affairs which is discriminatory towards those who are less well-off; whereas the problem of the exploitation of trainees as cheap labour must be acknowledged, and a set of quality criteria for traineeships is therefore needed;

O.  whereas SMEs and micro-enterprises, which are a driving force for economic growth and job creation and for achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, have shed more than 3,5 million jobs and significantly cut recruitment as a result of the economic crisis, and workplace closures have affected all workers, young people hardest of all;

P.  whereas young people have the right to quality employment in accordance with their skills; whereas quality employment is fundamental to the dignity and autonomy of Europe's youth;

Q.  whereas the economic crisis which became visible in 2008 has negatively affected both demand and supply on the labour market, thus dramatically increasing uncertainty over job prospects and making it essential for all unemployed people to be better informed about employment prospects; whereas education, training and skills development are often inaccessible for the most deprived groups, including young people with disabilities;

R.  whereas, by virtue of their emphasis on practical skills, dual education systems that combine classroom teaching with vocational training, and combined academic-vocational degree courses existing in a number of Member States, have proven their value during the crisis; whereas the Commission has repeatedly noted that effective dual education systems can guarantee a steady supply of qualified workers while keeping youth unemployment rates low;

S.  whereas the transition from full-time education to the labour market is a turning-point in the lives of young people and one which has a decisive bearing on their career prospects, lifetime earning potential and long-term social circumstances; whereas, in this context, education policy cannot be divorced from labour market policy;

T.  whereas the economic crisis which began in 2008 has negatively affected both demand and supply on the labour market, thus dramatically increasing uncertainty over job prospects and making it essential to address the issue of investment by Member States in job creation, training and education; whereas the consequences of the crisis may include increased social conflict and unrest;

U.  whereas employment agencies play a key role in the labour market and should therefore be required to meet stringent quality standards and to have their compliance with those standards checked by the competent authorities; whereas those quality standards and the requirement to undergo checks should apply in the same way to both public and private employment agencies;

V.  whereas part of the solution for unemployment may be the development of high-quality vocational education and training systems, with highly qualified teachers and trainers, innovative learning methods, high-quality infrastructure and facilities and a high labour market relevance, offering pathways to further education and training;

W.  whereas young people account for 40 % of those employed on temporary contracts, but make up just 13 % of total employment, and one in five young people fear losing their jobs;

X.  whereas in some Member States an increasing gap between the skills of graduates and the skills requirements of the labour market can be observed;

Y.  whereas taking account of the requirements of the labour market should not preclude children from acquiring the broadest possible foundation of knowledge, as that is the best way of ensuring they will be able to adapt to the vagaries of the employment market and of life in general; whereas most studies demonstrate the importance of providing quality education from the earliest school years as a means of preventing early school-leaving and ensuring that children from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds are fully integrated into school life;

Z.  whereas open educational resources improve the quality, accessibility and equity of education and facilitate an interactive, creative, flexible and personalised learning process through the use of ICT and new technologies; whereas open education enhances sustained employability by supporting lifelong learning;

AA.  whereas both schoolteachers and university teachers face unprecedented challenges arising from the rapidly changing global economic environment, in which the development of new skills and competences, innovative approaches and modern teaching methods is key to ensuring effective youth education and employability;

AB.  whereas 60 % of graduates are women, who are often placed in positions in which they are under-qualified or underpaid; whereas young women are also affected by gender differences in non-employment and employment conditions, which results in a pay gap (currently 16,2 %) as well as a pension gap;

AC.  whereas flexibility and job insecurity have a greater effect on the employment of women than on that of men: whereas in the third quarter of 2012, of all part-time workers in the 15-24 age group some 60 % were women, while in the same age group, of all temporary workers with tertiary education (first degree or postgraduate degree), 64 % were women;

AD.  whereas despite Article 19 TFEU, Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 and Directive 2006/54/EC of 5 July 2006, young women still suffer age and gender discrimination when they enter the labour market; whereas access to the official labour market is harder for women from vulnerable social groups, including ethnic minorities;

AE.  whereas motherhood often hampers access for young mothers to the labour market, thereby contributing to the widening of the gender employment gap;

AF.  whereas youth employment measures needs to be integrated within a consistent, future-oriented and investment-oriented oriented macroeconomic strategy that can ensure the conditions for the creation of sustainable 21st -century jobs and for an effective transition from education to employment;

1.  Stresses that national and EU policy measures to boost youth employment should be coherent and mutually reinforcing, and should place a special focus on high-quality (vocational) education, training and providing work experience, thereby enabling young people to obtain stable employment of good quality; stresses that creating opportunities for fairly compensated internships and voluntary activities in the public interest can enable young people to engage in socially valuable activities and gain professional experience;

2.  Deplores the fact that the current crisis measures aimed at reducing public spending in the crisis countries have already had a direct negative impact on young people through cuts in education, employment creation and support services;

3.  Points out that young unemployed people come from a wide variety of groups and therefore have to be classified according to their needs and abilities if the measures taken are to be implemented to more useful effect; considers it necessary to identify the key competences that will enable these young people to enter the labour market more rapidly and on a more permanent and sustainable basis; believes that attention should be focused in particular on young people who have no qualifications and are not in education, employment, or training;

4.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with Member States where there is more than 25% youth unemployment in the regions, to tackle youth unemployment by creating jobs for at least 10 % of the young people affected;

5.  Emphasises the need for active, comprehensive and integrated labour market policies aimed at job creation, with special measures for young people, so as on the one hand to avoid wasting available resources and on the other to lower youth unemployment, rather than merely ‘recycling’ it; calls on the Member States to check whether examples of best practices from other Member States could be applied to their own labour markets, and to draw on those measures which are suitable in their fight against youth unemployment; stresses the good experiences from countries with VET and dual-track education systems in 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;

6.  Calls on the Commission to collect success stories from the field of youth training and to publish them in the form of a handbook for use by other Member States;

7.  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 employability;

8.  Calls on the Commission to draw up qualitative guidelines for a modern dual education system, backed up by a list of broadly defined, non-academic key occupations in Europe;

9.  Emphasises the importance of improving quality standards and accessibility in higher education and VET; stresses also the importance of language learning in schools and in VET;

10.  Stresses that the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, at local, regional, national and European levels, including social partners, employment services, training and education authorities, individual employers, NGOs, and in particular also student and youth organisations, is essential for the successful design, implementation and monitoring of a variety of measures to foster youth employment and employability in an integrated fashion; emphasises that measures to promote quality and sustainable youth employment must be flexible so as to meet the continuously evolving needs of the labour market; notes the need for flexible and at the same time reliable contractual relations, effective reintegration policies and modern social security systems; stresses that early careers guidance for young people, well before they finish basic secondary schooling, is particularly valuable since it requires parents and schools to improve the capacity to help and advise pupils in choosing their education and subsequent career;

11.  Calls on the Member States to take measures to prioritise the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in their educational programmes in order to meet expected future developments on the labour market;

12.  Points out that collective bargaining plays a key role in fostering and improving the working conditions of young workers;

13.  Recognises that investing in the right skills is an important factor in helping Member States innovate and regain their competiveness;

14.  Calls the Member States to recognise the unprecedented challenges of the rapidly changing global economic environment, which both schoolteachers and university teachers are having to face; notes that a key factor for the successful education of young people and their employment prospects is the development of new skills and sets of competencies, innovative approaches and modern methods of teaching and learning;

15.  Calls on the Member States to encourage and support the participation of young people and especially women, through education, civil society and quality youth initiatives, in democratic life, and to make use of both existing and new tools in order to contribute to policy development, thereby enhancing young people’s development, wellbeing and social inclusion;

16.  Is deeply concerned at the budget cuts in the Member States in the area of education, training and youth policy, which could result in young people being locked out of both education and employment, and recalls that budget allocations for education and training are a necessary and invaluable investment in the future;

17.  Calls for more vocational education and training for teaching staff, especially as regards modern teaching methods and the use of new technologies; points out that lifelong learning starts with early childhood education, and stresses that language skills above all must be promoted in an enjoyable way;

18.  Highlights the role of the proposed EU Loan Guarantee Facility for full-time Master’s students in the EU and third countries in further facilitating youth mobility and contributing to multidimensional university ranking;

19.  Considers that local needs and territorial specificities should be taken into account in order to enable the identification of jobs, in particular in innovative sectors such as green segments and social businesses, within the framework of integrated territorial development strategies;

20.  Invites the Member States and regional and local authorities to set up integrated territorial development strategies, including training and employment components, starting with measures to avoid early school leaving, and to build employment pathways for young people;

21.  Recognises the particularly difficult situation in certain regions where the level of unemployment among young people is above 25 %; welcomes the fact that EU support for youth employment will be further boosted through the proposed EU Youth Employment Initiative, with a maximum budget of EUR 8 billion over the seven-year period 2014-2020; stresses at the same time that, according to the ILO, EUR 21 billion would be needed to implement the Youth Guarantee effectively in the eurozone alone; agrees that the specific budget allocation for this employment initiative for young people and the corresponding allocation from the ESF should be frontloaded;

22.  Emphasises the importance of immediate action to combat youth unemployment and long-term unemployment; emphasises, too, the need to get young people into long-term, sustainable, high-quality jobs;

23.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that national legislation affecting youth, and in particularly national legislation based on the Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC), is not used to discriminate against young employees' access to social benefits; believes that much more must be done to ensure that both employees and employers are aware of their rights and obligations under this legislation;

24.  Calls on the Member States to update their regional development strategies so that they reflect measures to boost employment, including youth employment;

25.  Welcomes the decision of the EPSCO Council on 28 February 2013 to agree on a Council recommendation on implementing a Youth Guarantee, and invites the Member States to take action to implement Youth Guarantee schemes in an ambitious manner at national level; calls for the extension of the target groups to include young people under the age of 30, including graduates and those leaving training systems without qualifications; stresses that the success of this measure will be highly dependent on a wide range of policies and framework conditions, such as adequate investment in education and training, infrastructure and capacity of employment services, availability of student and graduate places, and quality apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as general policies conducive to job creation; calls for an adequate follow-up through the Member States' National Reform Programmes and in the context of the European Semester to facilitate the monitoring, evaluation and continuous improvement of national Youth Guarantee schemes; stresses that Youth Guarantee schemes should be integrated within the broader framework of national active labour market policies;

26.  Informs the Member States that Parliament intends to monitor closely all Member State activities to make the Youth Guarantee a reality, and invites youth organisations to keep Parliament updated on their analysis of Member State actions;

27.  Calls on the national parliaments, together with youth organisations, to hold their governments responsible for delivering on the Youth Guarantee, and to ensure that serious steps are taken to ensure that each young person (unemployed or having left formal education) will within four months receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship;

28.  Stresses that efforts and funding aimed at implementing Youth Guarantee schemes should not discourage the structural efforts and reforms that are required to make the education systems and labour markets in some Member States fit for the challenges of the future;

29.  Calls on the Commission to provide in its programmes for measures aimed specifically at tackling youth unemployment, following an integrated global approach consistent with ‘Youth on the Move’, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy;

30.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States of their commitment to the Europe 2020 targets of 75 % employment for both women and men, and warns that the current level of youth unemployment could exclude a generation of women from the labour market, increasing their invisibility and vulnerability;

31.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor and disclose all data relating to policies to combat youth unemployment (including implementation of the Youth Guarantee), producing regional statistics for the different Member States and devoting particular attention to the gender aspect;

32.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to develop clear quality standards and indicators regarding the development of national Youth Guarantee schemes, as well as to boost their support for all actors essential to delivering Youth Guarantee schemes, such as national social partners, local and regional authorities, employment services and education and training authorities; calls for Youth Guarantee schemes to be facilitated through financial incentives, including incentives in public procurement, and funding for on-site training, which will support enterprises in making high-quality sustainable employment and training offers which will represent an effective and targeted investment in young people’s potential ; stresses that enterprises have a particular responsibility to make such offers available;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in cooperation with youth stakeholders and with Parliament, to develop a plan of action on youth employment identifying short- term, medium-term and long-term measures; regrets that in the current debate long-term measures are being presented as short-term solutions; stresses that in the short term the focus should be on immediate crisis relief, for those both outside and inside the labour market, with a focus on securing a living income as well as options on the labour market; stresses that investments in education and training, job creation, apprenticeship schemes and incentives geared towards employers are mainly medium-term but also long-term measures which need to be firmly agreed between all actors and upheld for a minimum of five years; stresses that, especially, constructing a system of dual education, apprenticeships, training on the job and integration of young persons into the labour market are long-term measures which need a longer-term commitment than hitherto;

34.  Recommends that in Member States with a dual vocational training system there should be an ‘alternative apprenticeship’ scheme, and thus a Youth Guarantee scheme, in the form of vocational training with more than one employer for young people under the age of 18 who cannot obtain an apprenticeship; in countries without dual vocational training, steps should be taken to implement an appropriately adapted system;

35.  Stresses that different age groups require different approaches to address employment issues, focusing on entry into the job market for younger age groups and on improving job security and social security for older age groups;

36.  Invites the Commission and the Member States to foster rapprochement between the worlds of work and education so that training paths such as dual training can be designed that combine theoretical notions with practical experience, in order to equip young people with the requisite general skills and specific expertise; invites the Commission and the Member States also to invest in support for an awareness campaign on vocational training (VET) and technical and entrepreneurial studies;

37.  Calls on the European institutions to set a good example by removing their advertisements for unpaid traineeships from their respective websites and to pay a minimum allowance based on the cost of living in the place where the internship is performed;

38.  Calls on the Member States to establish new inclusive and targeted labour-market policies that secure the respectful inclusion and meaningful occupation of young people, e.g. through the setting-up of inspirational networks, traineeship arrangements that include financial aid enabling the trainee to relocate and live close to the place where the traineeship is held, international career centres, and youth centres for individual guidance covering, particularly, matters such as collective organisation and knowledge of legal aspects relating to their traineeship;

39.  Calls on the Member States to draw up, in cooperation with all relevant actors and stakeholders, further specific outreach strategies targeted on NEETs, which should combine effective forms of reintegration of early school-leavers back into education or work; calls, therefore, on the Member States to present, in the framework of the European Semester, proposals as to how they will make progress in better integrating NEETs via the Youth Guarantee and other instruments; stresses the need to increase the employability and participation of young people by boosting lifelong learning and making social security schemes both more inclusive and activating; calls for the removal of the practical and logistical barriers faced by young people having more complex needs or with disabilities when entering the labour market;

40.  Calls on the Member States to intensify their efforts to reduce early school leaving in order to achieve the goal set out in the EU 2020 strategy of a dropout rate no higher than 10 % by 2012; invites the Member States to make use of a wide range of measures to fight early school leaving and illiteracy, e.g. reducing class sizes, providing assistance for pupils who cannot afford to complete their compulsory education, increasing the emphasis on practical aspects in the syllabus, introducing mentors in all schools and establishing an immediate follow-up of early school leavers; points to the example of Finland, which has succeeded in reducing the number of early school leavers by studying together with pupils the possibilities of seeking a new direction; invites the Commission to coordinate a project on best practices;

41.  Notes that play-based early-years education can put children on the right track for successful schooling, and highlights the prime importance, in this context in particular, of initial training and specialised further training for teachers;

42.  Urges the Member States, given the exceptional social conditions created by the crisis, to draw up a strategy to provide incentives – including financial incentives – for pupils from vulnerable groups to complete their secondary education;

43.  Emphasises the importance of having a quality public network of student residences;

44.  Supports the establishment of the Erasmus for All Programme with a separate chapter for youth as well as a corresponding separate budget allocation, including increased support for those who are active in youth work, both institutionalised and non-institutionalised; is of the opinion that acquiring skills, in particular transversal skills (e.g. in ICT and languages), for example by studying, working or volunteering abroad, can promote young people’s active participation in society and therefore European integration, and can improve their prospects on the labour market, as well as workers’ mobility in general throughout the Union;

45.  Stresses the key role that should be played by the European Social Fund in combating youth unemployment, and calls on the Member States and all operational programmes’ managing authorities to ensure that measures aimed at achieving this goal are included;

46.  Calls on the Member States to implement the measures set out in their national Youth Guarantee Schemes, taking into account a gender perspective at all stages of the preparation, programming and implementation of these measures; calls on the Member States to set up employment centres, with suitably trained staff, that are able to implement effective awareness-raising policies and provide specific arrangements for women, also to avoid long-term unemployment and the risk of social exclusion;

47.  Stresses that making the Youth Guarantee a reality requires respect for collective wage bargaining and the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value;

48.  Underlines the importance of young people learning general skills such as ICT, leadership, critical thinking, language skills and entrepreneurial skills, including through periods of study abroad, in order to improve their prospects on the job market and their ability to adapt to future labour market developments; calls on the Member States to give added importance to such skills in their educational curricula;

49.  Recognises the difficulties young people encounter in setting up and developing their own business; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support young entrepreneurs and young self-employed people by facilitating and simplifying access to finance, reducing administrative burdens, addressing bankruptcy laws, and creating overall preferential conditions which should include efficient counselling and mentoring and providing business incubators;

50.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take such measures as are necessary to encourage, promote and support business start-ups and self-employment of young women by providing them with training, counselling and easier access to credit and microcredit offering favourable terms and fiscal facilities, in particularly for SMEs;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take such measures as are necessary to counteract the stereotype that entrepreneurship is a risky and male-dominated activity; stresses that, in order to strengthen women’s overall position on the labour market and promote entrepreneurship more effectively, measures should be taken to support regional and international cooperation between female entrepreneurs and to encourage the creation of networks of platforms for the exchange of experience and best practices;

52.  Welcomes, in the context of promoting self-employment among young people, the proposed successor to the Progress Microfinance Facility included in the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) for the period 2014-2020, in order to better meet demand, also among young people starting up small businesses, including university students' start-ups; welcomes the commitment of the EIB to pay particular attention to investments that improve opportunities for young people to gain access to productive jobs; stress that all three axes of the EaSI programme provide ways of combating youth unemployment;

53.  Highlights that, while the internet economy creates 2.6 jobs for every ‘offline’ job lost, it is important that young people turn e-skills in programming, design or social marketing into jobs, using available European and national funding;

54.  Calls for an ambitious and holistic policy approach - at European and national level alike - which looks at education, training, quality employment and self-employment and labour mobility initiatives, for all young people at all the various levels, in an integrated way; urges the Member States to engage in broad consultations with universities and other educational institutions, with a view to better adapting their education and training curricula to the needs of the labour market; in view of the forthcoming programming period 2014-2020, invites the Commission to make a comprehensive analysis of the EU programmes and the financial sources invested in education, training and tackling youth unemployment in the programming period 2007-2013, and to report on the matter to Parliament and the Council; stresses that youth unemployment is linked to low economic growth in most Member States; stresses therefore the urgent need to prioritise job-friendly forms of growth that will also benefit young people, and to address the structural barriers to young people’s entry into the labour market;

55.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal for a European Youth Corps programme, with the aim of enabling young people under the age of 30 across Europe to do voluntary work in another Member State than their own for up to three months; stresses that the idea of such a European Youth Corps is to give young people the chance to use and upgrade their educational and social skills, increase their knowledge of another Member State, and promote friendship and integration across the EU; emphasises that Youth Corps work must be voluntary and unpaid and may not replace existing jobs in the visited country; believes that such a Youth Corps should be conceived in terms of a public-private partnership aimed at setting up a programme under which young people can receive an individual grant covering travel and living expenses for a period of up to three months;

56.  Considers that education and/or training establishments should arrange extracurricular placements so as to provide students with experience in their chosen field as a means of consolidating their knowledge and forging links with the workplace;

57.  Calls on the Member States to improve cooperation and strengthen partnerships between businesses and the educational sector at all levels, with the aim of linking curricula more closely to the demands of the labour market, for example by extending Sector Skills Alliances and Knowledge Alliances;

58.  Emphasises the importance of enhancing VET quality with the aim of striking the right balance between education and labour market demand; considers that the promotion of VET should not be done at the expense of higher education; stresses that the interaction between VET and higher education and the opening of pathways from VET to higher education need to be improved; stresses that more flexible curricula are needed in order to facilitate young people’s access to the labour market and improve adaptation to future labour market developments;

59.  Calls on the Commission to propose a Quality Framework for Traineeships, building on its earlier proposal for a European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships(15) , including a definition of quality traineeships with criteria for appropriate compensation, working conditions and health and safety standards; calls on the Member States and the social partners to ensure adequate quality standards for traineeships, making sure that traineeships are tailored to the needs of young people to develop relevant skills, backed up by mandatory monitoring, as well as to ensure quality standards for work placements, inter alia with a view to preventing the exploitation of young people as cheap substitute labour; stresses that active promotion and awareness-raising in respect of such standards are needed;

60.  Calls on the Member States to pay particular attention to high youth unemployment rates among migrants, giving priority to integration into the labour market and the mainstreaming of integration policies, as employment is the key to successful integration; stresses that the difficulties encountered by young migrants in obtaining career guidance should be taken into account and that the integration of young migrants into society and the labour market should be monitored and evaluated;

61.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the European social partners to take on board an ambitious approach to developing the Alliance for Apprenticeship which will be launched in July 2013, and also to support European, national, regional and local campaigns for changing perceptions of vocational education; believes the Alliance should organise a regular discussion forum on the monitoring of the European apprenticeship strategy with all relevant European, national, regional and local stakeholders; stresses that access to funding should be provided to facilitate cross-border training activities that enable companies and social partner organisations to become involved in establishing dual education systems;

62.  Calls on the Member States, in agreement with the Commission, to establish measures and concessions for apprenticeship contracts and bonuses for business start-ups by young people aged under 35;

63.  Emphasises the need to enhance the framework of social partnership and social responsibility of companies and firms, so as to enable them to better incorporate the Charter of Good Quality Internships and Apprenticeships as well as the Youth Guarantee;

64.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, when making decisions relating to the 2014-2020 programming period, to lay down more stringent and quantifiable criteria concerning the setting, monitoring and evaluation of Structural Fund objectives, with specific targets relating to the fight against youth unemployment, which should also be measurable in terms of gender (in the period 2007-2011, 52 % of Structural Fund beneficiaries were women);

65.  Invites the Commission to consider a further adaptation of the ESF in order to provide additional support in the areas of training for young women, access to employment and childcare;

66.  Believes that in bolstering and supplementing Member States’ efforts to revitalise economic activity and foster employment across their territory EU cohesion policy represents a fundamental tool with which the Union can help overcome the present situation, guiding and shaping the implementation of the necessary structural reforms, concentrating investment on priority actions in order to maximise the impact of investment on the socio-economic situation of a region or Member State, stimulating the economy, and helping create new jobs among young people; calls, therefore, on the Member States to make full and coordinated use of the available EU funding (ERDF, ESF, CF, EAFRD and EMFF), thus enabling young people to play an active part in the economy and society; stresses that account should be taken of regional specificities, given that they may dictate the success or failure of young people’s initiatives, throughout the EU and in particular in the most disadvantaged and outermost regions, where investment is necessary to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion;

67.  Encourages the Member States to foster employment opportunities for young people locally, and to complement this by facilitating the mobility of young workers who want it to other EU countries or beyond(16) ; calls for measures to enhance their training and experience, including the removal of existing barriers to cross-border apprenticeships, traineeships and internships; wishes to see further progress on the mutual recognition of qualifications and skills and enhanced coordination of national social security systems, especially as regards pension systems, as well as continued substantial investment in language learning from an early age;

68.  Calls on the Member States to continue the process of reform and development of effective public employment services so as to better target their activities and approaches on young people, as a fundamental component of any national Youth Guarantee strategies; stresses the need to introduce reforms to EURES with the aim of proactively matching jobseekers and job-changers to existing vacancies, as well as with the aim of raising awareness of EURES, including its advisory network, and increasing its visibility and availability, as a career advice system that helps students become more aware of existing job opportunities; highlights the need for closer coordination between EURES and other portals and services for citizens and business (examples being ‘EURES my first job’, the Europe Direct information points or the European Enterprise Network for SMEs), in order to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness on the part of the services provided; welcomes the work of the Heads of Public Employment Services (HoPES), and supports its institutionalisation;

69.  Calls on the Member States, in the absence of specific figures on youth migration flows, to create mechanisms for the research, monitoring and evaluation of such mobility that can be transferred to EURES in order to better address such phenomena;

70.  Stresses, in addition, the importance of raising young people’s awareness regarding use of the counselling offered in the framework of the public employment services, strengthening partnerships with schools and universities, and working towards better integration with the EURES network;

71.  Calls on the Member States to properly recognise and validate informal and non-formal learning and education and acquired competences, along with other professional experience, as a form of valorising competences so that young people can provide fuller evidence of their education and competences in relation to the requirements for successfully entering the labour market;

72.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement transparency and harmonisation in the recognition of qualifications within the Union, in particular through the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training, Europass and the European Qualifications Framework, to fully implement the Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal education, and especially to secure the cross-border recognition of non-formal and informal learning; stresses the importance of implementing and reporting on these initiatives in a timely fashion;

73.  Stresses that the problem of ‘brain waste’ needs to be addressed, since having highly qualified and skilled young people working far below their potential results in non-use of their actual skills and qualifications, while at the same time having negative effects on them in social and psychological terms;

74.  Recognises that cross-border labour mobility can in part be an effective solution to match labour demand and labour supply across the Union; calls on the Member States, at the same time, to take all necessary action to prevent the phenomenon of ‘brain drain’ through sustainable measures which ensure employment opportunities for highly-skilled workers in their own Member State or region;

75.  Identifies the education-to-work transition as a crucial moment for young people; stresses the importance of measures favouring a secure transition; calls, therefore, on the Member States to develop personalised career counselling, and to strengthen guidance and advisory measures, as well as placement services tailored to the individual’s needs, starting already in the first years of secondary school, with the aim of enabling young people to make well-informed choices about their future education or vocational training, while introducing mechanisms that can monitor the opportunities offered and assess the success rate of those young people’s subsequent transition to work;

76.  Stresses the need to encourage all undertakings of a certain size to offer traineeships under a dual training scheme unless they are in major financial difficulty, and to recruit trainees at the end of their traineeships;

77.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that young people can, if they so wish, receive effective assistance in choosing their career and finding out about their rights and their minimum income;

78.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that basic training in job-seeking skills is incorporated into university courses;

79.  Believes that education systems in the EU should promote the principle of fair and equal opportunities; calls for all the necessary skills to be fostered with a view to facilitating access to lifelong learning, a sine qua non in the knowledge society;

80.  Emphasises that all financial resources invested in actively combating youth unemployment should be spent effectively; calls on the Member States to introduce a monitoring and evaluation system for employment measures implemented, which should be public and easy for citizens to access, as well as a system of verification of the effectiveness of those measures, with a view to working increasingly towards evidence-based policies that can also be shared at EU level; in this regard, notes that the establishment of a common system of result and impact indicators would contribute to the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the progress achieved under the different programmes;

81.  Emphasises that youth organisations should have a recognised role in the monitoring and, where applicable, implementation of policies and initiatives aimed at addressing youth unemployment;

82.  Stresses the need to invest in the creation of ‘green jobs’ that are stable and are quality jobs, as a means of allowing young people to have a decent life; calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to mobilise all available funds to stimulate investment in particular in ‘green jobs’, with a view to combating the unacceptably high rate of youth unemployment;

83.  Takes the view that more attractive teaching strategies are needed, with better regional insertion and the creation of networks of platforms for the exchange of experiences and good practices between regions and Member States, taking account of varying situations and allowing flexibility in line with each region’s specific needs and characteristics, defining priority areas for the development of each region;

84.  Calls on the Member States to implement measures addressing gender inequalities that are suitable for taking into account vulnerable social groups, including persons with disabilities, migrants and single mothers;

85.  Calls on the Member States to pursue policies to encourage the presence of women in sectors and careers where they are under-represented, such as the field of science and technology (in 2009, only 33 % of research scientists in the EU were women) and the economic and financial sector, since choosing such paths would make women more competitive on the labour market;

86.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to combat gender segregation, both in education and in the labour market, by identifying specific education and training courses and tuition based on continuous follow-up, abiding by the conclusions set out in the Commission communication of 28 November 2012 entitled ‘Rethinking Education’ (COM(2012)0669), combining education and training policies with targeted employment policies for young women, and promoting and providing incentives for the employment of women in strategic development sectors;

87.  Calls on the Member States to promote young women’s access to the labour market, take measures enabling women to remain employed while they focus on pursuing quality employment and professional growth, and close the gaps with regard to entering the labour market, careers and pay that have always characterised the relationship between women and men in the workplace;

88.  Takes the view that helping women to return to the labour market requires multidimensional policy solutions incorporating lifelong learning and action to combat precarious work and promote work with rights and differentiated work organisation practices, at the woman’s request, so that women do not have to give up their careers or take career breaks;

89.  Calls on the Member States to develop appropriate policies in full compliance with European and national legislation, and to introduce specific measures, including work-focused training and employment programmes, to ensure equal opportunities for both young men and young women in gaining actual work experience;

90.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop and implement gender mainstreaming and monitoring policies that enable access for unemployed citizens to recruitment and social support services;

91.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 29.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0224.
(3) O-000106/2012; B7-0113/2012.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0016.
(5) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9.
(6) 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.
(7) Eurofound (2012), Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg
(8) Eurofound (2011), Helping young workers during the crisis: contributions by social partners and public authorities, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0092.
(10) Eurofound (2012) Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg ( )
(11) Eurofound (2013) Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg ( )
(12) 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.
(13) Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, January 2012.
(15) COM(2012)0728
(16) By initiatives like the MobiPro Programme

Last updated: 11 January 2016Legal notice