Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment and Social Affairs Council : Youth Unemployment: A Matter of Training

Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment and Social Affairs Council : Youth Unemployment: A Matter of Training

Article excerpt

The alarming unemployment situation in the European Union (the eurozone average rose above 10% in December 2009), particularly youth unemployment, was the focus of the informal Employment and Social Affairs Council, on 28-29 January in Barcelona. The 27 ministers agreed that more practical short-term strategies have to be developed to deal with the problem, without neglecting analysis of the root of the problem and the long-term aspect, said Spanish Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho after the meeting. There was no magic solution proposed in Barcelona to remedy youth unemployment speedily, however. In December, unemployment among the under-25s climbed to 21.4% in the EU.

The outgoing EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said that the Commission was finalising a 100 million microcredit for young people who want to start a business. He confirmed that the Spanish presidency has planned a final proposal that it hopes can be materialised 'in the coming weeks'.

The Commission proposed, in July 2009, to reallocate 100 million from the EU's Progress Programme on employment and social solidarity, which has a budget of 743.25 million for 2007-2013, to a new four-year microfinancing instrument (running from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2013). It estimates that this 100 million could pull together more than 500 million under a joint initiative with international financial institutions, in particular the EIB group. The new instrument would be aimed at facilitating access to microcredit by the target groups (people who have lost their job, disadvantaged persons or micro-businesses in the social economy sector). The Council failed to work out an agreement with the European Parliament on this decision under the Swedish EU Presidency because MEPs wanted to raise the programme's budget to 150 million. …

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