Youth Forum addresses EU employment ministers
The European Youth Forum is this week (16th – 17th July) attending the Informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in Luxembourg, where the Youth Forum’s President and Secretary General today attended the working lunch on youth employment, to represent civil society views alongside the Social Platform.
The Youth Forum’s president, Johanna Nyman, was – unusually for such a meeting - given the floor in a brief speech on the topic of the Youth Guarantee and the wider macroeconomic situation. Johanna focused on the scheme’s implementation so far and flagged up, following a consultation with the Youth Forum’s member organisations (which will be published this Autumn), some best practices as well as common problems coming up across the European Union.
Challenges experienced so far in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, include that:
- It is not tackling social exclusion, which should be done with targeted measures for disadvantaged young people far from educational systems and public employment services.
- It is not reaching out to enough young people – with 8 out of 10 young people having never heard of the Youth Guarantee. Youth organisations can help in this through being closer to young people and more in touch with their reality.
- The low quality of job offers means that the Youth Guarantee is not contributing to long-term, sustainable solutions for young people. There is a need for a quality framework on the EU level.
- There is not enough cooperation between all stakeholders: there should be inter-ministerial dialogue to avoid counter-intuitive measures, dialogue between education and employment services, and social partners including youth organisations.
The Youth Forum also raised the issue that the Youth Guarantee alone cannot solve the youth unemployment crisis faced by young people across Europe. Johanna called for a package of measures to ensure young people are supported in the transition from education to work and that their rights – including the right to a quality job, job security, equal pay for equal work, and social security - are guaranteed.
For this to happen, focus must also be put on the broader macroeconomic situation. The Youth Forum welcomed the Investment Plan for Europe but is stressing that the social impact of the Plan has to be taken into account. The Youth Forum calls on the projects selected for investment to be ones which prioritise investment in job-rich sectors and youth-friendly ones, such as ICT and the green economy. Governments must also invest in ensuring that strong and supportive welfare state services are in place – to avoid increasing the risk of young people falling into poverty and social exclusion, and thus further prolonging their transition into autonomous, independent citizens.
The Youth Forum was delighted to have the rare opportunity to address the EU Employment Ministers in this setting and to see that the focus remains on youth employment: we now want to see this focus clearly turned into action, and are ready to collaborate with the Luxembourg Presidency and Employment Ministries across the EU to achieve this.