Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, has said that youth unemployment now stands at 23.6% in the EU, where some 5.7 million young people under 25 are unemployed and at work, young people are strongly over-represented in temporary jobs.
Speaking Monday at the EU Youth Conference-Opening Ceremony in Dublin, she thanked the Irish Presidency for the excellent job they have done in organising the event.
This Conference, she noted, will complete the first phase of the Structured Dialogue cycle on social inclusion – which is particularly relevant in these difficult times.
Vassiliou said the EU Youth Report pointed to the wider social consequences of the crisis, with more young people at risk of poverty and social exclusion, or even, in more extreme cases, acute health problems or homelessness.
Tackling youth unemployment, she pointed, is a key priority of the EU and is at the centre of Europe 2020 strategy.
"For this, I am working closely with the Member States, in the context of our proposals on `Rethinking Education`, on educational reform to ensure that our schools equip young people with the skills they need for sustainable employment", she added.
She recalled that last December, the Commission launched a Youth Employment Package. "As part of this, we proposed youth guarantees to ensure that young people are in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school", she said.
The youth guarantee, Vassiliou pointed out, is an urgent response to the alarming levels of youth unemployment, and she called on Member States to translate this agreement into concrete action as swiftly as possible.
Early last month, she said, EU leaders proposed that € 6 billion be made available to combat youth unemployment in the new EU budget and this still needs to be approved by the European Parliament.
"In response to the Council Resolution adopted during the Cypriot Presidency, the Commission will organise a review of the dialogue in 2013, asking the main actors to draw up recommendations on the dialogue`s content, follow-up, outreach and visibility", she concluded.
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