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Jobs

Youth unemployment addressed by EU executive

The European Commission has presented recommendations aimed at curbing spiraling youth unemployment in a number of eurozone nations. Guaranteeing job and qualification offers is part of the scheme.

The EU executive on Wednesday presented a strategy paper on how to curb massive youth unemployment across Europe. The Commission's recommendations came on the back of millions of young Europeans losing their jobs or not being able to find new employment amid the protracted debt crisis.

EU Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor among other things suggested introducing guarantees for young people below 25 years of age to get job or qualification offers within four months after the end of their vocational training or within four months after being laid off.

"It's obvious that the eurozone crisis is pushing up unemployment in general, but the younger generation is hit hardest," Andor said in a statement. "We have to invest in young people now!"

Win-win situation

In 13 of the 27 EU member countries, more than every fourth young person is out of work, while in Greece and Spain the figure is up at 50 percent. A third of all young jobless people across the EU have been without employment for over a year.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), job offer guarantees in the 17 eurozone nations would cost the single-currency bloc about 21 billion euros ($27.5 billion). But the European Commission argued that the overall costs from youth unemployment amounted to 153 billion euros annually, the equivalent of 1.21 percent of the EU's economic output.

The EU executive said it was willing to support the initiative with resources from the European Social Fund. The recommendations made to curb joblessness among young people are mere proposals that cannot be written into law. But they draw from similar national programs which have already yielded positive results in Finland and Sweden.

hg/msh (dpa, epd)