State of the Union: Five key takeaways from Ursula Von der Leyen
17 September 2020
Key points from von der Leyen's state of the union speech [caption id="attachment_14822" align="alignnone" width="640"]...
GRTU Director General and EESC employers' representative Vincent Farrugia has this week chaired the second EESC study group on the Commission Communication on Youth Opportunities Initiative, issued at the end of last year. Mr Farrugia argued that SMEs are the largest employers and within SMEs exists the capacity absorb the largest number of unemployed. They must however be supported, with access to finance, financial incentives and schemes for employment, in order to provide them with the capacity to employ.
The Youth Opportunities Initiative builds upon the EU 2020 flagship initiatives 'Youth on the Move' and 'New Skills for New Jobs', as well as on the June 2011 Council Conclusions on youth employment and the Council Recommendations on early school leavers. Although both education and employment policies are primarily the responsibility of Member States, the European Commission can make an important contribution. One of the key elements of the Youth Opportunities Initiative is that the European Commission will help Member States to use the European Social Fund (ESF) more efficiently, in particular knowing that 30 billion euro within the ESF is still uncommitted to projects.
Between 2008 and 2010 youth unemployment has increased by one million reaching the unacceptable level of more than 5 million unemployed young people. This means that on average one in five young people on the labour market cannot find a job and in certain Member States it is almost every second young person willing to work who faces this problem. The youth unemployment rate is twice as high as for the whole working population and nearly three times as high as the rate for the adult active population.
In most European countries there is an ageing society. Europe's development will not be sustainable if millions of young people are lost for society. Between now and 2020, it is estimated that there will be 73 million job openings due to retirement of the baby-boomer generation of workers. These will need to be filled with appropriately qualified new staff. If no action is taken to better integrate young people in the labour market, and especially the early school leavers, millions of them will risk facing persistent difficulties and marginalisation over time.
Vince Farrugia presented his comments as follows:
Support to entrepreneurship
Support to tackle skills mismatches
Support to companies to foster the recruitment of young people
Support to Member States to adapt education and training systems
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