State to urge action on EU jobless youth, says Gilmore
THE REPUBLIC will use its presidency of the European Union to press for joint action to reduce soaring youth unemployment rates, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has told a conference in Brussels.
Mr Gilmore stressed that growth was the key to Europe’s recovery during his address to the Tripartite Social Summit, a biannual gathering of senior EU figures, employers and trade unions. He said this would be the theme of the Republic’s six-month EU presidency, which begins in January.
“We must not allow this current crisis to lead to a generation of unemployed and untrained young people, of people without hope and without opportunity,” he said.
With the jobless rate among under-25s at 30 per cent in the Republic and rising to 50 per cent in Spain and Greece, the European Commission is due to outline proposals on the problem in the coming months.
“We are particularly anxious that the recommendation for a youth guarantee should be advanced ... during the course of our presidency,” said Mr Gilmore, referring to a fund to help young people into a job or further education within four months of leaving school.
With Ireland due to host the next social summit in March 2013, the Government said it would use yesterday’s meeting to emphasise the importance it attached to the EU’s social dimension.
Dublin hopes for rapid progress in implementing the growth compact agreed by EU leaders in June after France, Italy and other states had pressed for a reorientation of Europe’s response to the debt crisis.
“Fiscal consolidation and budgetary discipline – these are a part of the process of European recovery. A vital part. But they are not sufficient. Growth is the key,” said Mr Gilmore.
The social summit was chaired by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and commission chief José Manuel Barroso, with Mr Gilmore representing the Republic as incoming holder of the rotating presidency.