In Strasbourg, Jude and Paul, along with their Socialist and Democrat colleagues, yesterday called on the European Commission to renew and strengthen the European Youth Guarantee. Launched in 2013, the Youth Guarantee aimed to provide young people under 25 with a job offer, training or an apprenticeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.
County Durham and Tees Valley have recently seen to £21 million new investment to tackle high rates of youth unemployment in the region. Despite the Tory Government’s slow and centralist approach to the allocation of these Youth Employment Initiative funds the benefits are clear in areas suffering the worse effects of austerity policies.
Jude Kirton-Darling said:
“Labour MEPs and European socialists fought extremely hard to place youth unemployment at the forefront of EU policy. Likewise we fought to overcome the Coalition Government’s attempt to block the allocation of these EU funds in the North East. however it’s clear that EU money has been vital in tackling youth unemployment in our region.
“In 2015 North-East Labour MEPs hosted a dedicated Youth Unemployment workshop in Brussels with participants from the North East, Finland and Greece. The outcomes of that workshop formed a report to the European Commission on what further steps needed to be taken to tackle youth unemployment and precarious employment such as zero-hours contracts.
Paul Brannen added:
“What we need now is for the European Commission to sit up and take notice of young people’s voices by extending the youth employment initiative and simplify access to funds in order to widen its reach. In addition the Conservative government needs to learn from the successful implementation of youth employment initiatives in Finland and Austria where they have made use of the wealth of local expertise on youth issues across the country. Inside or outside the EU, we will need the government to continue to fight against youth unemployment and should learn from best practices elsewhere.”