Youth unemployment in the EU

Baroness Valentine

The House of Lords will today debate one of the most pressing and important issues facing Europe, namely the chronic rates of youth unemployment in the EU. It will discuss the recent report from the European Union Committee, of which I am a member of sub-committee B, regarding the sizable numbers of young people out of work.

It is worth reflecting on some startling figures outlined in the report. In Greece, almost 60% of people between 15-24 are unemployed. In Spain the figure is 54.3% and in Cyprus 40.8%. In the UK, youth unemployment is lower but at around 22% still more than double the rate recorded in Germany and the Netherlands.

The impacts of such endemic unemployment cannot be underestimated. Young people across the continent are missing out on the psychological and economic benefits of being in work, learning new skills and being independent. As George Orwell once wrote, unemployment for humans is the equivalent of shackling a dog to a chain.

So what on earth can we do the get our young people into work? Firstly, we in Britain much accept that this problem must be addressed by working closely with the European Union. Taking an isolationist approach will not work – these are issues that member states share in common with each other and which can be tackled by a common approach.

Secondly, EU funds are available through its Youth Employment Initiative. This money could be used to create work experience opportunities for young people, building upon and supporting national policies on reducing unemployment.

The UK should also replicate the approach of countries (and their businesses) such as Germany, which take a long term and serious approach to training. In particular, the UK government should reconsider its resistance to the EU Youth Guarantee and follow Germany’s lead in signing up to it.

5 comments for “Youth unemployment in the EU

  1. Lord Blagger
    17/06/2014 at 10:24 am

    Most youngsters are only going to get a min wage job. That means they have to work for a year, and consume no government services just to keep you going for a day. That’s the cost to us, so don’t complain that you only get 300 a day. It just shows the priority of peers.

    The problem is the state. You’ve run up debts you cannot pay, and that is not just the borrowing.

    So you go round taxing anything that moves, is nailed down, the works. You tax smoking to prevent it. You tax work, and we can make the connection. If you tax it, you prevent it.

    The state and the people who run it are responsible.

  2. maude elwes
    17/06/2014 at 11:09 am

    My comment is this, why is the Lords wasting time and our money discussing youth unemployment in Europe rather than centering on youth unemployment in the UK? As, according to this Telegraph report, we will very soon be checking out as a member of that club?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10902893/Die-is-cast-for-Jean-Claude-Juncker-to-take-the-EUs-top-job-as-defeat-looms-for-David-Cameron.html

    On this issue I agree completely with our Prime Minister. Juncker is not only unsuitable for the job in his character but his policies for the future of Europe are outrageous and should be put to the country as requested, after full and open discussion on just what they will mean to us in the round.

    Therefore, the ‘Lords’ are jumping the gun with this debate, are they not? For, as many on the EU website suggest, we (the UK) are trying to force Europe to accept input from a State that will not be part of it once an in/out election is called. Why not use our tax money to mull over our own responsibilities and leave Europe to deal with their own?

    • maude elwes
      18/06/2014 at 11:58 am

      PS: To my comment above.

      Although I do deeply agree with our Prime Minister that Juncker is not fit for purpose, I would not be backing his man. At least I don’t think so. Hard to judge if we are not told who is in line as ‘best man’ from our point of view.

      However, you see, my choice would be the Greek, Alexis Tsipris. Yes, a Greek no less. I like his policies. They make good sense to me.

  3. 19/06/2014 at 4:28 pm

    Baroness Valentine,

    I hope the House of Lords has paid sufficient attention to the visit of Premiere Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong to Britain despite the lack of discussion of this and Spanish succession in the Lords of the Blog. China is the country doing too much for job creation, too much for overall growth, too much for long-term growth. I mean it when I say “the country” at least among major players. Their problems are largely from too much emphasis on economic growth. Almost all other major players have made this a priority which is very low and even though economic abuses are causing problems everywhere they pale compared to problems related to other causes. Because of this national attitude relations with China will determine a significant part of the employment picture for the EU, the USA and others for some years ahead.

    I do not believe that this fact has to be good or bad for the EU. But Mandarin speaking tour guides, agents and brokers, English teachers in China, experts on trilateral trade with China in the developing world and those selling products at competitive prices to deal with growth related problems in China ought to be part of a picture of long term growth and accessible growth today.

    Further those who can find a fascination with the Chinese mindset ought to have a special role in munitions sales, peace studies and international development planning. China is not the only story but it cannot be ignored.

  4. MilesJSD
    19/06/2014 at 9:36 pm

    In terms of the 25% Workplace timeframe
    within which the Employer ‘dictates’ what job-skills the employee must have, and the worker does not spend his/her personal money;
    ‘versus’
    the 75% Lifeplace major timeframings wherein a variety of abilities or ‘enablements’ can and should be being built,
    necessarily quite distinctly differently from workplace skills;

    the state of being “Unemployed”

    becomes made up of two major practical factors
    1) the unemployed’s job-skills are not in use.
    2) major time becomes available for building Life-Place abilities and enablements
    and for inserting otherwise neglected or denied personal-life-development, in particular Sensory-Self-Awarenessing and Self-Controlling abilities;

    so every period of unemployment should be given major support for Self-in-Lifeplace enablements and abilities learning and practising;
    quite separately from preparations for employment and job-seeking timeframes.

    A good start, with quickly-learnable life-long lasting new enablements, is the small and low-priced guidance book “Waking Up”, the otherwise unrecorded but highly successful and ‘key’ workshops of CharlotteSelver.
    Another enabling advance, actually being denied by the Church of England as “Not Christian”, is
    “Relaxercise” by Bersin, Bersin & Reese.
    And three further new-personal foundations guidances will be found in
    “The Body of Life” by Thomas Hanna.
    “Inner Focus Outer Strength” by Eric Franklin.
    “Free Your Breath Free Your Life” by Dennis Lewis.

    And the last advice,
    which not paradoxically is already being employed by the individual, might well be
    “… And this above all, to thine own self be true”.

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