The European Parliament fails to meet needs of young people
The European Parliament's employment and social affairs committee today voted on a report on youth unemployment. The Greens/EFA group considers this report to be weak and regrets that at this critical moment the European Parliament has failed to put forward decisive and innovative demands to EU institutions and governments that would improve young Europeans' future prospects. The Greens/EFA MEPs abstained on this vote and will instead present an alternative report in the upcoming plenary session in September. After the vote, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Greens/EFA spokesperson on youth issues, explained:
"This report doesn't add anything to existing EU measures on youth employment. While in Berlin heads of state meet simply to talk about this issue, the European Parliament does nothing to pressure them into adopting an ambitious agenda on young people's needs. Ms Merkel has indeed said that she wants to save a lost generation, but the EU leaders want to do it at any cost without respect for rights or quality, opening the door to discrimination against young people on the labour market and failing to end the exploitative strategy of "hire an intern not an employee". Although we succeeded in having the report refer to austerity measures as a cause of youth unemployment, the report echoes the right-wing idea that unemployment can be blamed on individual failings and exhorts young people to try harder and learn more, blaming the individual rather than recognising that at the moment there are simply not enough jobs to go round.
The Greens instead argue for an integrated approach. As outlined in the 'Green New Deal' (1), job creation, sustainable and decent employment and skills development can go hand in hand.
Furthermore, while this report recognizes that youth organisations should be consulted, it fails to recognise their abilities and does not give them much power to decide on the policies that will in turn shape their action.
The European Parliament can and must go further and the Greens/EFA group therefore decided to abstain on this vote. The Greens/EFA group is committed to tackling youth unemployment at EU level and meeting young peoples' needs. As a first step, the austerity measures, which day by day increase youth unemployment, must be stopped. We also need solidarity measures across member states and we must create sustainable, decent jobs for a green future. The EU can do more than shifting money around with its plan to 'frontload' the limited budgetary resources of the Youth Guarantee. The EU must take young peoples' futures and employment prospects seriously and should stop publicly proclaiming the importance of action while ongoing actions destroy the few options that remain."