Saturday, 29 June 2013

The European Council's fight against youth unemployment is a joke

Against the background of a weak short-term economic outlook, youth unemployment has reached unprecedented levels in several Member States, with huge human and social costs. Urgent action must be taken. 
Today, the European Council agreed on a comprehensive approach to combat youth unemployment, building on the following concrete measures: speeding up and frontloading of the Youth Employment Initiative; speeding up implementation of the Youth Guarantee; increased youth mobility and involvement of the social partners

Conclusions of the European Council (27/28 June 2013)

EU "president" Herman Van Rompuy is pleased with the "productive" EU "summit", which agreed a program to fight youth unemployment in Europe. Van Rompuy and the other summiteers may be proud of their achievement, but they should be ashamed. The EU initiative is only a drop in the ocean, which will not make any real difference. For once, I can agree with much of this analysis published in the World Socialist Web Site:
At their summit Thursday in Brussels, the government heads of the European Union decided to provide six billion euros for unemployed youth. The measure is officially described as a “Call to Action on Youth Unemployment.” In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is a travesty and insult to the intelligence of young people and only underscores the fact that an entire generation has no future in a capitalist Europe. 
In the 27 member countries of the EU, one in four young people under 25 is officially counted as unemployed—a total of 5.6 million people. The real figure is even higher since the official statistics take into account only those who have been looking for a job within the past four weeks and who can take on a new a job within two weeks.
The six billion euros are to be spent over the years 2014 and 2015. This amounts to an average of 45 euros per month per unemployed person, i.e., a drop in the ocean.
Even prominent corporate and political figures conceded that this is a token measure. Thomas Mayer, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, called it “more a form of symbolic politics,” and Martin Schulz, president of the EU Parliament, said the money allocated was “not enough.”
According to the European Commission, about 4.5 trillion euros of public funds have been allocated to prop up the continent’s banking system since 2008. Now the same European governments are freeing up 0.13 percent of this sum for European youth. This ratio indicates the relative importance attached by the ruling elite to the youth of Europe as compared to the banks.
The six billion euros is not even new money. Rather, it is to be diverted from other expenditures in the existing budget.
Of course,  the World Socialist Web Site writer Peter Schwarz is wrong when he claims that "an entire generation has no future in a capitalist Europe". On the contrary, the huge youth unemployment is a direct consequence of the centrally planned policies of the Brussels politburo. In a truly free European market, without the euro straightjacket, we would not have a serious youth unemployment problem.

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