Youth unemployment: a pressing challenge for the EU

(23 March 2010) Youth unemployment represents more than 20% of the overall unemployment rate in the EU. MEPs, experts and youth representatives agreed on the need to tackle early school leaving and on the role of apprenticeships. Internships should have an added value and not replace jobs.
In the context of the EU2020 Strategy, the aim of the rapporteur Emilie Turunen (Greens/EFA, DK), the youngest MEP in the Parliament, is "to put youth at the top of the political agenda".

The debate took place 17 March 2010. The European Parliament’s committee will vote on this 2 June 2010.

Issues considered included:

- Early-school leaving

- Apprenticeship and Internship

- Skills for the labour market

The rapporteur stressed the difference between apprenticeships and internships. "There is a lack of apprenticeships while internships are increasing and are replacing jobs".
An expert underlined the need to subsidize apprenticeships in "economic sectors which have good economic perspectives. Otherwise we will train people for jobs that will disappear."

Luca Scarpillo, from the European Youth Europe, recognises that "internships can be a valuable step in the transition from education to professional life. However the learning dimension of internships has been decreasing with many interns working in tasks that do not contribute to the progress in their professional development."
Yannick Miel, from Génération précaire highlighted the situation of interns in France "they represent 1. 2 million, they are not submitted to any labour law and too often internships replace jobs".