Youth unemployment – what role for key EU business sectors?
Brussels, 3 December 2013: In an article published in the Parliament Magazine Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers argues for the right environments to be created to allow key business sectors like brewing to flourish, grow and create new jobs
“No jobs for young Europeans.” It is tragically common news, and the latest data from the European Commission confirm the downward trend in youth employment. Today almost one in four people under 25 is without work.
The EU is seeking solutions, urgently, to avoid a lost generation. As Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe, representing nearly 4,500 brewers across Europe and a product that supports 2 million jobs, I share these concerns.
Two weeks ago, European heads of state and representatives from the EU Institutions gathered in Paris to identify solutions to combat youth unemployment. Increasing EU funding and enhancing cooperation between governments and employers should be welcomed, and innovative initiatives such as the ‘Youth Guarantee’ and the ‘European Alliance for Apprenticeships’ can certainly be part of the solution.
However, we also need to be sure that the right environments are being created to allow key business sectors to flourish, to grow and to create these new jobs.
EU brewing sector
An October 2013 Opinion by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for policies supportive of the brewing sector as part of the effort to stimulate growth and jobs in the hospitality sector, where many young people find their first employment.
Unfortunately, many Member States are not adopting such approaches. A new report by EY, looking at the economic impact of our sector, will be published on 4th December at the brewing sector’s annual gala event in Brussels, Beer Serves Europe. While the report will show signs of recovery in our sector, it will show that tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of unsupportive polices, with a resulting decrease in revenues to government from income tax social security contributions, not to mention the lost livelihoods and additional financial burden on the State created by unemployment.
Both the EESC study and the new EY report will be discussed at Beer Serves Europe, which will focus on employment this year. The EESC report highlights the dangers of cutting deficits with tax rises that take away jobs and get in the way of key business sectors being part of the solution to youth unemployment. The Commission’s DG Education and Culture will also present the ‘European Alliance for Apprenticeships’.
EU hospitality sector
To take the example of another sector, a September 2013 report showed that every €1 spent in the EU hospitality sector in reality means €2.16 invested in the wider economy, supporting other sectors like transport, tourism, culture, construction, and brewing. This is a sector that employs 16.6 million people in the EU and is responsible for the jobs of 1 in 13 EU workers.
The hospitality sector is a demonstrable example in Europe and especially in countries like Greece or Spain, where youth unemployment is highest. Next year, Greek tourism revenues are projected to rise by 13% to a record €13 billion. Moreover, it shows the way for sustainable job creation: today, tourism employs one in five Greeks.
Surely it is time to support those industry sectors, which are growing and contributing to job creation? However, these sectors remain under threat from austerity measures, which increase tax rates when disposable incomes are falling, undermining the ability of the sectors to generate growth, leading to cost-cutting and a loss in permanent capacity.
For a young unemployed person in Europe today, the chances of finding a job are low. The opportunities to change this reality? Many, as long as Europe goes beyond cash aid packages and supports EU-level initiatives with a genuine focus on supporting dynamic sectors that generate growth and jobs.
Simon Spillane, Communications Senior Advisor, The Brewers of Europe
+32 (0)2 551 1810; firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Pierre-Olivier Bergeron’s editorial can be seen in full at
Beer Serves Europe IV is taking place in Brussels on 4 December. More information at www.beerserveseurope.eu.
About The Brewers of Europe:
For more than a half century The Brewers of Europe has been the Brussels-based voice of the European brewing sector towards the European institutions and international organisations. Founded in 1958, it has 29 members, comprising 25 national brewer associations from the EU, plus Croatia, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Among the 4500 brewers across Europe, the vast majority are small and medium-sized, local and family-run businesses. 2 million jobs are created by the European brewing sector.