http://cor.europa.eu/Style%20Library/CorWeb/Images/logo-245x100.pngTackling unacceptably high rates of youth unemployment is a top priority for EU regions and cities. In the opinion on the Youth Employment Package, drafted by the President of the Tuscany Region, Enrico Rossi (IT/PES) and adopted unanimously at the May plenary, the Committee of the Regions endorses the European Commission's efforts to harmonise and improve provisions for traineeships, apprenticeships and work placements. The CoR also warned Member States against providing insufficient funding for the Youth Employment Initiative which was launched at the European Council on 7-8 February, earmarking €6bn from the EU budget. Regions and cities are calling for the initiative to be strengthened and brought forward, starting already in 2013.
"The key question we have to answer to is how to get young Europeans into the job world", Rossi said before stressing that, "The solution includes providing adequate traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities, addressing in particular young people who are not in education, employment or training, as suggested by EU Commissioner Andor". Having a clear vision of local needs and challenges, regions and cities have a key role to play in implementing the new initiative starting with the youth guarantee schemes which promise young people good quality employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a work contract within four months of finishing school. According to Rossi, "This guarantee should be seen as a right for all young EU citizens". There are encouraging signs as pilot projects are already being realised by several regions, Rossi said, "In Tuscany the impact of the guarantee has been highly effective with 40% of young workers being offered a job straight after their traineeship". The CoR insists that youth guarantees should be extended to cover young people up to the age of 30 (not just up to 25), including those with university degrees. However, the CoR acknowledges that adopting the scheme will be very expensive and not feasible in several Member States unless they can count on adequate EU funding. Read more...