Barroso urges jobs commitment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at a press conference in Government Buildings. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at a press conference in Government Buildings. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Thu, Feb 28, 2013, 00:00

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has urged EU ministers to agree a new commitment to offer a job, training or further education to any young person out of work for four months.

He said a guarantee of education or work should be adopted to restore confidence and hope among young people.

"Every young person should be guaranteed a job, further education or training within four months of becoming unemployed."

While employment figures published by the CSO yesterday show growth in the number of people employed for the first time in five years in the final quarter of 2012, Ireland still has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe at 30 per cent.

"Here in Ireland, and all around Europe, too many young people are asking if they will ever find a job or have the same quality of life as their parents," he said. Mr Barroso said member states needed to give these young people "a better prospect".

He said young people should be trained to fill ICT vacancies: "It is a sad fact we have high levels of unemployment and skills shortages. The shortfall of ICT professionals could reach 700,000 by 2015."

Some €6 billion in the EU budget has been set aside to tackle youth unemployment in areas with unemployment rates of 25 per cent or higher.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland, like many countries in Europe, had experienced an unemployment shock in the past few years "from which we have yet to recover from".

He added: "We cannot allow economic recovery to be a jobless recovery."