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A Placebo For Europe’s Youth


Angela Merkel has invited European labour ministers to come to Berlin and discuss youth unemployment. This is despite last week’s European summit having youth unemployment as a central issue – but Berlin, of course, is the new Brussels. (And what about Vilnius? After all, Lithuania has just taken over the EU presidency.) What better evidence could there be that the EU Summit was clearly a low profile gathering, showing a lack of both ambition and answers?


Factually, the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), which aims to support young people in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 25 percent, will become fully operational by January 2014, and the €8 billion allocated to this in the multi-annual budget will be frontloaded in 2014-2015).


The EU will promote mobility among young job-seekers through the “Your First EURES Job” programme, which aims to help some 5,000 people fill job vacancies throughout the EU. The Union will also support high-quality apprenticeships and work-based learning through the launch of the so-called “European Alliance for Apprenticeships.”


So what will the additional meeting in Berlin add? This is, indeed, the moment for additional sweeties and gifts from Germany, which is heading for elections and does not need negative headlines from European capitals (which might destroy the rosy climate which is reigning in the country). Today’s summit is about comparing “best practices” and the innovation is that the heads of the national employment agencies are also invited.

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