Hollande signals growing concern about European youth unemployment

French president calls for urgent action to tackle lack of jobs and training

French president François Hollande called for urgent action to tackle the lack of jobs and training for young people in Europe. Photograph: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

French president François Hollande called for urgent action to tackle the lack of jobs and training for young people in Europe. Photograph: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

 

French president François Hollande has signalled growing political concern about youth unemployment in Europe, calling for urgent action to tackle the lack of jobs and training for young people.

His call came as the European Commission said the jobless rate among under-25s across the EU stood at 23.5 per cent in March, with the rate reaching 24 per cent in the 17-member euro zone, up 1.5 percentage points compared with the year before. The rate has climbed to more than 59 per cent in Greece and more than 55 per cent in Spain.

“We must act urgently – six million youngsters are out of work in Europe . . . close to fourteen million are without work, study or an apprenticeship,” Mr Hollande said at a conference in Paris that brought together a number of EU finance and labour ministers.

He was speaking as France and Germany stepped up efforts to show they were working to tackle the problem, seen as a key element in flagging support for EU institutions and the continent’s political leadership.

Mr Hollande separately met French and German finance and labour ministers to discuss a joint initiative he said would culminate in a meeting of all EU labour ministers in Berlin in early July.

Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, warned of “catastrophe” and said “we will lose the battle for European unity” if jobs were not found for Europe’s youngsters.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013