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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the joint Press Conference following the Round table on Youth Employment in Europe
Round table on Youth Employment in Europe/Berlin
3 July 2013
We are stepping up concrete action in the fight against youth unemployment in Europe.
This commitment is happening. Today's round table confirmed it. The results of last week's European Council have shown it. And the many very concrete measures at European and national level prove it.
We all agree that the current level of unemployment of young people in Europe is simply unacceptable. In a number of European countries we are facing a true social emergency. This must stop. We need to give young people the hope and perspective they deserve wherever they live in Europe.
We should do this jointly, not individually. Together not against each other. For the future of young people, for our common future in Europe.
In 2007, when we solemnly signed the Berlin Declaration, we fully subscribed to the following principle: "Wir sind zu unserem Glück vereint". Today we should add: "Wir sind vereint, um Europas Jugend eine bessere Zukunft zu geben." I think this was the spirit of today's meeting.
Let me commend Germany and Chancellor Merkel for the initiative of today's Round Table and the considerable best practice Germany can share with its partners, namely its dual vocational training system or its labour market reforms. This is certainly an inspiration for many other countries in Europe.
The discussions in today's round table reflect Europe's commitment to decisively tackle youth employment. While the responsibility and financial means for this lie mainly in the hands of Member States, the Commission can provide the European dimension and be the focal point for action.
The role of the European Commission is to act as a catalyst, complementing and supporting national efforts – namely through funding programmes that we are for instance blending and leveraging with the EIB allowing the structural funds to be mobilized for this most urgent priority.
There are five areas of Commission added value:
• ensure implementation of the Country Specific Recommendations where urgent steps have been identified, including concrete structural reforms of labour markets, to combat youth unemployment;
• Support Member States in their efforts to implement the Youth Guarantee schemes and by frontloading the Youth Employment Initiative. Dedicated Youth Employment Action Teams will directly assist the Member States upon their request;
• Accelerate work with Member States on the Partnership Agreements, so that the European Social Fund, can provide extensive support to human capital;
• Promote cross-border mobility among young people;
• Ease transition from education to work: for example the European Alliance for Apprenticeships was launched yesterday, and we will move fast with implementation of "ERASMUS +".
To conclude: Europe is part of the solution.
The Commission will continue to play an active part to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness. I am certain; together we will succeed in turning a page, for our economy, for our people, for the young generation. The future of the young is the future of Europe. We cannot fail them.
I thank you for your attention.