MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton, announced today that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Ireland and Germany on a range of youth employment measures.
Speaking in Berlin, where she was attending a conference on the topic, Burton said the agreement will “facilitate the exchange of information, experience and best practice and also put in place measures to boost youth employment in both countries”.
A total of 20 EU leaders were present at the summit today, which was hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The memorandum will commit her department and Germany’s Federal Ministry to increase their cooperation in the field of labour market policy.
It will also explore how best to utilise European funds as possible investment vehicles for youth employment initiatives.
Bruton said that the decision of the European Council to utilise the financial support of the European Investment Bank to intensify the fight against youth unemployment in addition to the €6 billion allocated under the EU budget was to be welcomed.
Today Sinn Féin’s youth spokesperson, Senator Kathryn Reilly criticised the EU summit in Berlin, saying that “young people need jobs not election stunts”.
“There are 7.5 million young people not in employment, education or training across the EU,” she said. “Given the scale of the problem, €6bn allocated by the EU for youth unemployment is nowhere near enough.”
“The government has no strategy for addressing youth unemployment,” she added. “It has no plan and it is not investing adequate resources to tackle the problem. Until this changes the number of young people not in employment, education or training will continue to rise.”
Tomorrow morning the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee will launch a report, written by Reilly, on the need for a youth guarantee.