Strasbourg, 23.05.2012 - In a draft resolution adopted yesterday on “The young generation sacrificed: social, economic and political consequences of the financial crisis”, the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) notes that the young generation is disproportionally hit by the unemployment/underemployment-poverty-exclusion trap, a situation that could have tragic consequences.
“Europe risks not only producing a ‘lost generation’, but also undermining its political stability, social cohesion, justice and peace, as well as long-term competitiveness and development prospects. Young people should be viewed not as a problem to be addressed but as an asset,” said the rapporteur, Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD).
In an effort to reverse this trend, the committee proposes a series of practical measures regarding youth policies, youth employability and skills, social protection and the promotion of active citizenship and social dialogue.
The committee takes the view that not only should youth policies feature high on the political agenda but they should also receive adequate funding, while macroeconomic policies should be refocused on sustainable job creation and investment in lifelong education and training. Tax breaks for young entrepreneurs or tax incentives for employers who offer apprenticeships to young people as well as better public social security coverage should complement national “youth guarantee” schemes to ensure that no young person is out of employment, education or training for more than four months against their will.
Lastly, the committee calls for social dialogue by developing public-private partnerships between educational institutions, enterprises, local authorities, trade unions, employment agencies and social services.
In a draft recommendation, the committee invites the Committee of Ministers to bring this package of measures to the attention of youth ministers who are to meet in St Petersburg from 23 to 25 September 2012, and to re-examine the proposal to draft a European framework convention on the rights of young people.
The report will be discussed at the next plenary session of the PACE (Strasbourg, 25-29 June).