European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday urged Europe’s leaders to come up with an “ambitious” jobs plan for youth at a June summit, as he held talks with new Italian premier Enrico Letta.
Winding up a tour that has taken him to Berlin, Paris and Brussels to present his economic recipe for Italy, Letta said the European Union urgently needed to show its citizens it could deliver, particularly by dealing with the nightmare of youth joblessness.
“It is important for us to have in June some important signals for European citizens in terms of recovering hope and confidence,” Letta said at a brief news conference, referring to the June 27-28 EU summit.
“That is the real nightmare of my country and the EU.”
Barroso said a 120-billion-euro EU growth pact was indeed proving “below our expectations” and called on leaders of the 27-nation bloc to sign up to “a more ambitious plan to fight youth unemployment”.
“We must give revive hope, specially for young people,” he said. “We cannot wait for long, we are all aware this is urgent.”
New data this week showing unemployment at a record high of 12.1 percent, or 19 million people, out of work in the 17-nation eurozone, offered frightening new figures on youth unemployment.
One out of four under-25s was on the dole in the EU in March but almost two in three in Greece and Spain.
The Eurostat statistics agency said that 24 percent of under-25s were jobless in the eurozone, and 23.5 percent in the 27-nation EU against 22.5 percent and 22.6 percent a year earlier, respectively.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor