Youth employment crisis

Raw and intricate economics has been the bill of fare which have largely dominated EU politics in the wake of the banking crisis and the ongoing recession.

Raw and intricate economics has been the bill of fare which have largely dominated EU politics in the wake of the banking crisis and the ongoing recession.

At times the discourse which has dominated European and domestic politics over the past few years has seemed too removed, technical and jargon heavy for the layman to fully comprehend.

Las week, however, one of the most visible manifestations of the crisis took centre stage when EU leaders addressed the chronic issue of youth unemployent across Europe in Berlin.

To say the problem is acute is an understatement.

Six million under 25s are unemployed across Europe today, with a noted preponderance in Southern Europe.

The figures in Greece and Spain are reaching an unprecedeneted two-thirds.

Ireland’s rate of youth unemployments stands at 30 per cent. And remember this figure is tempered to a great degree by a high rate of emigration and participation by those who stay in third level and ongoing education.

This is the fundamental economic challenge facing this State and Europe as a whole.

The complexities of the crisis are deep seated, and no clear solutions are immediately forthcoming.

Young people in the marketplace today invariably find themselves stymied by a lack of opportunity and consequent experience.

It is a vicious circle which continues to perpetuate itself.

EU leaders met last week on the issue in a clear signal of the critical nature of the problem and the difficulty national governments have had in dealing with it.

Yet little of a substantive nature emereged from these deliberations.

A figure of €2 billion in funding was agreed, but a solution remains out of sight.

In November, European leaders will meet again with a report due from each country on how it proposes to deal with the issue.

Unemployment, and particulary youth unemployment, will remain stubbornly high.

Funding for the crisis will be of little or not effect if it is not complemented by a multi faceted, holistic approach which includes such elements as training, education and apprenticeships.

Youth employment is a social and political timebomb.

It is thoroughly corrosive for any country’s wellbeing.

It is the most acute manifestation of the current economic malaise. It is the greatest challenge facing the State and the EU.More than anything else it needs a proactive solution, and soon.