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Europe — Labour Ministers concerned about level of youth unemployment

03 February 2010

At an informal meeting of European Labour Ministers, held in Barcelona following the latest unemployment figures published by the Statistics Office of the European Union (Eurostat), the main subject was youth unemployment, Point24 reports.

The average unemployment rate of the under 25 year olds across all member countries of the European Union (EU) was 21.4% in December 2009, which is more than double that of the total working population (9.6%). However, there are enormous differences by country.

The lowest youth unemployment rate was registered in The Netherlands with 7.6% followed by Germany with 10.1%. Spain has by far the highest youth unemployment rate with 44.5% followed by Latvia with 43.8%.

The Spanish Minister for Labour, Celestino Corbacho, said at the Barcelona meeting "all European countries are concerned about youth unemployment." The Spanish government has announced an austerity budget of 300 million Euro over three years to be spent on professional training for young employees and job seekers.
The EU Commissioner in charge of employment, Vladimir Spidla, said "youth unemployment is above all a question of professional training." Brussels has launched a financial aid package of 100 million Euro for the support of young people who want to start up on their own.

Maurizio Sacconi, Italian Minister of Employment responded to the claim by his Spanish counterpart that many young people in Spain are working as temporary employees and therefore were the first to get the sack in the crisis by saying, "the problem is not temporary employment of the young. What matters is that they have a quality job."

Dara Calleary, the Irish Minister for Employment, said that "there is a risk that young people become dependent on social security and other benefits and never get exposed to work ethics and the experience of working." Youth unemployment in Ireland was 31% in December 2009.



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