jobsHere at Debating Europe, we like it when politicians tell us exactly how their party is different from all the others. When there is an obvious difference between political parties, it helps give voters a clear choice. With the European Parliament elections coming up in May 2014, it’s important to start thinking now about the issues and figuring out who you think deserves your vote (and you can start showing your support already through the Debating Europe Vote 2014). So it was nice when we carried out some interviews with three European politicians recently on the topic of youth unemployment and had a set of completely different responses.

Youth unemployment is possibly the most important challenge facing Europe today. Whilst general unemployment levels in the eurozone have recently fallen for the first time in three years, youth unemployment rates are still rising and hit a record high of 24.4 percent in October. Pope Francis has called youth unemployment the “most serious evil” facing the world, whilst Christine Lagarde has warned that high youth unemployment will darken Europe’s future.

We had a video question sent in by Nastja asking whether the various initiatives set up by the EU (such as “Youth on the Move” and “Youth in Action”) were really the best way to tackle high youth unemployment. We took this question to Ashley Fox, a British MEP with the  Conservatives in the European Parliament. He made it very clear that he believes that EU initiatives aimed at tackling youth unemployment are a complete waste of money. According to Fox: governments don’t create jobs, private enterprises do.

We got a different answer from Tytti Tuppurainen, a Member of the Finnish Parliament who sits with the  Social Democrats. She felt that EU initaitives could be a valuable spur to national action on youth unemployment:

Finally, the most enthusiastic response came from Désirée Pethrus Engström, a  Centre-Right Member of the Swedish Riksdag, who answered a similar question from Toma.

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

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What do YOU think? Should the EU stop interfering and just let companies create jobs? Or should the EU spend more to tackle youth unemployment? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

  1. avatar
    Máté Foki

    The EU should make an examining commission to be able to investigate countries that are going to be an autocracy,like our country,Hungary. :/

    • avatar

      The EU itself is 100% undemocratic and sometimes imposes laws upon us that a vast majority in our country disagrees with.

      So the EU has no moral authority.

  2. avatar
    Juan I. Trujillo

    obviously not! they should spend it on first class flight tickets for politicians (mode sarcasm on)

  3. avatar
    Giannis Lainas

    Young ppl unemployment on Greece 60% and laws so young ppl get paid less than other workers with criteria being age and age only….total unemployment around 30%….so ofc not?im with merkel,we need more austerity,austerity for life!!!!ZIEG HEIL

  4. avatar
    Veisz Márton

    Hungary is not an aotucracy, we are fine, thanks. Btw: no the EU (or the states) shouldn’t spend more, just let the businesses work – they will create more jobs!

  5. avatar
    Semira Pashmineh-azar

    EU should take more actions than just talk about it especially for Greece and of course to be the right ones :
    Acting without thinking is like shooting without aiming ?B. C. Forbes
    The actions of men are like the index of a book; they point out what is most remarkable in them ?Heinrich Heine

  6. avatar
    Greg Archimandritis

    EU should fight high taxation and bureaucracy, the archenemies of all companies!!! Then, businesses themselves will show the way to growth!

  7. avatar
    Paul X

    Fox is correct “governments don’t create jobs, private enterprises do”

    Tytti Tuppurainen, quotes typical euro-waffle “EU initaitives could be a valuable spur to national action on youth unemployment”

    So she is saying we are going to spend tax payers money on “EU Initiatives” but the actual action will come from national governments? Not only that but these Initiatives only “could” be a spur…essentially, this means a lot of taxpayers money being spent on Brussels meetings and business lunches discussing “Initiatives” without a single guarantee that anything productive will come of it

    This just about sums up the EU. In the manufacturing world we have what is called a six sigma “lean” policy. One of the purposes of this is to identify steps in a process that do not add any value to the finished product and eliminate them. The EU receives large amount of European taxpayers money, it adds no value to this income just distributes it as it sees fit. The EU is actually the worst possible case because it creates a negative value by syphoning off money to sustain its own existence

    As far as productivity goes, the EU would have been six sigma’s out of existence years ago, leave the taxpayers money with the national governments and let them use it to bribe businesses to employ more young people, no fancy “Initiatives” necessary, just common sense

  8. avatar
    Will Schmitt

    Definitely not! As a young graduate, I am thrilled at the prospect of ending up jobless after 6 years of hard (and high quality) studies! I really think that my generation should suffer for our parents’ mistakes, so please exploit us in any way you deem necessary.

    You get it…

    • avatar

      Sounds like you feel you’re entitled to some high paying government (non-) job.

    • avatar
      Morten Lund

      Please tell us what your education is?

  9. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    Stop increasing the retirement age and reducing taxes in General, both for companies and for Europeans. Stop to absorb all our monetary resources and we all win.

  10. avatar
    Maria Amélia Rodrigues Cabaça

    To Young people and to the others, what we have now is not a real Europe. In Portugal it is a shame the governament we have, steeling poor people every days.

  11. avatar
    David Fuzzey

    all barosso , wormy von ropey and co care about is their own euro and eu empire.All no votes are ignored . The real Europe will only return when the scourge of federalism has been removed .

  12. avatar
    Andrea Tuswald

    the EU just needs to stop forcing companies into austerity measures, then there will automatically be more jobs. the EU should banks let go bancrupt, so that the economy can after a short shock recover. its almost cynical to ask if it should spend more, if in the same time, it continues destroying the economy.

  13. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    i dont know man…i think the eu is dead. people should look for employment somewhere else in the world and not europe..i think europeans should migrate to canada australia and new zealand and leave from europe.

  14. avatar
    Carlos Neto

    Is that even a question?! I think everyone agrees the EU has to help tackle the youth unemployment. Now the way they use to do it, should be at the core of the debate.
    While all the amazing brains we produce keep flying to the US, Australia, Singapore, China and so on, the EU is failing at doing the above!! Invest in high qualified workers, ease the creation of new business (that will creat jobs for both qualified and under-qualified Europeans) and above all, DONT GIVE UP!

    • avatar

      It’s the EU you’re talking about, the 21st century’s Soviet Union. They have zero interest in business.

  15. avatar
    Marie Strati

    On the one hand, EU should invest in projects that will permit the young people to get skills and be competitive in the job market. On the other hand, with the necessary legislations, the EU should give the necessary incentives to public and private sector to employee young people with a limited working experience.

  16. avatar
    Marie Strati

    On the one hand, EU should invest in projects that will permit the young people to get skills and be competitive in the job market. On the other hand, with the necessary legislations, the EU should give the necessary incentives to public and private sector to employee young people with a limited working experience.

  17. avatar
    Morten Lund

    Agree with Fox. Compagnies create jobs. The EU has important tasks to make, especially joining the loose ends and unify the countries. The cost reduction potential is enormous. Europe could come a little further down to earth, so it might notice the methods practiced abroad. What will keep us uncompetitive, is to give jobes away. The jobs most evolve, so the most eager young person finds it.
    We must educate and reeducate the youth to what the world needs right now. It is not moore philosophers or this kind. Technology takes on and sceince is the thing. If we prefer to be a first world part of the globe, its this way only.
    As a momentary help, the youth should get a little economical reward for choosing the needed educations and the politicians should decide to creat more united R&D projects, from money saved during cost reduction programmes. The long talks and endless meetings must be trimmed to more action now and the will to take a risk.
    We lag electronic and data industri for one! It is kind of a 2-sided case, because we can´t create an European Google if we have to buy the hardware elsewere.

    The trade on this globe is controlled via Google etc. I am very pro EU and when I want to buy stuff on the internet I try hard to buy euro room stuff. Today it is quite a hard task both timely and linguistic. It has not to be this way, because they are there and the products are excelent. But here in Denmark, Google prefers to send me to either English or American shops? Like eg Germany does not exist. This trend is extremly devastating for jobcreation in Europe. And I do not think Google etc will voluntary change it. We must act politically. There are work ahead! We just have to be fit and come a little down to earth.

  18. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    People from the Northern EU nations are fed up of paying billions upon billions upon billions to aid Southern EU nations. Why can’t we let Greece, Albania and the other impoverished EU nations join up with Turkey into a Greater Turkish Union.

    Such a union would have similar economies (developing) and similar approaches to business etc that would cut youth unemployment in no time.

    • avatar
      Alvaro de Simón Ballesteros

      What are you talking about? First of all Albania is not even part of the EU so before complaining take some time to be informed about what is happening out there. Then “southeners” as you say in your message can not be considered as an homogeneous group country: Greece is by far the most enpoverished country one in part due to the unfair austerity policies carried out by the European Union. Cyprus, by proximity, could also have a greater relation with Turkeyt but that is unlinkely to happen unless you solve your problems with the illegally occupied Nothern Republic of Cyprus. Then, Spain or Italy are still suffering a lot but there is no interest in joining any greater Turkish Union as we don’t share any common interest with the turks except for the mediterranean sea.

      Then concerning the youth unemployment topic, the problem is that regardless the amount of money spent by the EU, as long as companies only focus on making profits and reducing costs hiring young people will not be their priority. Hiring a young professional is an investment as you must give him some education and training that will be afterward given back to the company. But companies don’t think in that way and they don’t think it is worthy to invest on someone that might leave the company sooner or later. In my country: Spain there is a huge gap in the labour market between young workers and more experienced ones. Youngs normally get trash jobs, for a short period of time and are paid a misery compared to other western EU countries. Talented people are not recognized and they have no other choice but to leave the country if they ever want to get a proper job, i am myself living in Belgium working here.

  19. avatar
    K Adamson

    The vast numbers of youth unemployment will in years to come be vast numbers of middle aged unemployment . We have stopped training people in skills that are required . Do we know what skills will be required even ? The mass migration of labour has given the west a cheap workforce , often more experienced than young people, our youth are not being given a chance .

    We will reap what we sow

  20. avatar

    Nope, noway , backup the truck . First of its not eu money, its money from member states lets try to respect that.
    Second , there is not 1 (one) eu country that has asked its people what they want, and the countries that have , well needless to say the referendums were disregarded and convienently non binding. The dutch and french were asked and we all know what happened to democracy there.
    So until we have a majority of citizens whom want a federal eu, back of and find something contructive to do instead of undermining democracy.
    All each country has to do is ask, and respect the outcome.

  21. avatar
    Paul X

    “its not eu money, its money from member states lets try to respect that”
    Hear hear, I totally agree
    The EU generates absolutely nothing…… sucks in large amounts of European taxpayers money, siphons of a fat slice to keep itself running and then distributes what’s left on various (often pointless) projects. It then has the audacity to insist big plaques are places on the sites of these projects proclaiming they have been “Provided by EU funds” as if they expect the taxpaying public to be grateful for their “generosity”

    • avatar
      Morten Lund

      The money spend on the EU is equal to the money spend on the national government. The problem right now is that we are both spending it on the national and the EU governmen. We will first start really to harves the benefits when the EU gets going and the unification begins seriously. Common school law, health law, etc.
      As it is now, yes we are having large expenses on the political management, holding 2 positions when 1 is enough.

    • avatar

      And since we’re a net contributor, none of the projects in the Netherlands are EU funded, they’re all self funded by us after 20% of our money was siphoned off.

  22. avatar
    Paul X

    Morten, I agree we are paying for two levels of political management when one is enough

    So lets get rid of the unelected, profligate one that can’t even keep an account of where all its money goes

    • avatar

      You pay for much more than two levels of political management. You pay your city hall, your county, your region and so on, up to the national level, depending on what country you come from. And its done with a reason, each is better at doing some stuff than the others. The EU is bloody good at getting rid of some of the hurdles, where it matters. My parents have a small bio cosmetics business, and they can (and do) sell their products in Belgium and Germany right now, because there is only one set of rules for cosmetics. They tried to enter those markets some years back and gave up, they could not get all the legal and permits sorted, on top of the necessary changes in the products mixtures, and would not work for peanuts under one of the big labels. Looking strictly at the money spent for the EU is like making a cost-benefit analysis completely ignoring the benefit part. There are probably a lot of things that probably need improvement, but getting rid of it would be a blunder of monumental proportions. You see my nick, I come from one of the two most vilified countries in the EU – not going to tell exactly which one. The level of wholesale aggressiveness displayed by the UK these days for two whole countries beggars belief. I have zero illusions that if the EU would crumble, trade would stay the same. Idiotic protectionism would follow immediately. To save money, as far as I am concerned, they should stop spending outside the EU, but that is another story. I look at my own turf: the government f***s up royally, and somehow you still find idiots that blame the EU for it.

  23. avatar
    Morten Lund

    @ bulgmanian
    I agree with you, the EU is of course doing a lot of good. It is just that I would like to see the integration speed up. More like the USA. They have one school law, one health law etc. and look how they benefit from the money they save. They can put endless money into large projects like going to the moon or creating internet giants and couquer the world. At the same time we do with more people a lot less, because the money goes down a drain called nationalism and “oh the way they teach math in the naboing country is not the way we should be doing it, so let us invent our own math books” and things like this.

    • avatar

      And I would not like to see that.

      You do realize that your country would have to decline in wealth if we had an USA like system.

      Differences between US states are relatively small when compared to differences between European countries. And state spending in the US is far lower than countries spending in European countries.

      So in the USA, there is room on top of state spending for transferring 8-12% to the federal government which then redistributes it. However, because differences here are greater, the transfers would need to be around 20%.

      The problem is, the individual countries national governments usually already spend around 45-55% of GDP. There isn’t room on top for another 20%. The only way it could be done is by drastically reducing national spending on healthcare, education etc. Your country and mine would have to surrender about 20% of the wealth (and I believe this to be a conservative estimate).

      You willing to do that?

  24. avatar

    Oh yes , nationalism, a word that makes eurofiles shudder, along with democracy freedom the right to a referendum, the right to choose etc.
    What brussels is doing is empire building 101. Think about it!!
    They will use forums like these to try to spin the idea that they are doing good, like student loans,more jobs and a banking union, when in fact its a corporate power grab.
    These are traps ,the power of suggestion is used to sucker europeans, spin doctors and propaganda are used with success in brussels , dont fall for it. The eu project is one of the reasons were in this huge mess..
    Greece/Italy/Portugal and a few others were asked to join the euro to create chaos in the eurozone to speed up eu integration, very well thought out actually. Like they say at the imf(you have to create a little chaos to get what you want).
    The usa , which i know from experience has one political party catering to the corporates, rep/dem the same bussiness man in a different suit.
    Like i said before no way. First ask the people in fed/nofed referendums before you spend our money. Its already cost to much and the majority of people are tired of the bs.
    Im for more money for students, but not via brussels. National goverments have been doing this for years ,let them do what they get paid for. National goverments could allocate more funds for projects like these if they didnt have to give huge chunks of thier budgets to brussels. Brussels is bleeding the countries in the eurozone dry.
    The reason for european decay is the federal project. Thats a hard fact.

    • avatar

      one like for you

  25. avatar

    The question at this point especially for countries like Greece is not what the EU should do but what the EU should stop doing.

  26. avatar

    The question when it comes to countries like Greece, is not what the EU should do but what the EU should stop doing.

  27. avatar
    Jonathan Colquhoun

    Well, if we don’t have any jobs, we can’t make money, if we can’t make money, we’ll have to borrow ( which has MASSIVE interest) if we can’t pay it back, then we have to borrow more etc, etc, etc

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