"Can we still assert that the European Union shapes our future while there are so many young unemployed? It is a scandal that questions our public policies. One young out of four is unemployed in Europe on average. In some countries, it is even one young out of two.
Our chiefs of State or government are aware of the situation and therefore they have launched the “Youth Employment Initiative” programme in 2013. The latter let the member states choose the most appropriate measures. Real progresses have been achieved but their assessment is tricky. In many cases, the most important is to act as fast as possible depending on the urgency of local situations.
Structural measures are needed and professional training should become a priority, based on good practices. We can take as example Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria which have a strong apprenticeship tradition. These are countries where the youth unemployment is very low. In the perspective of the next MFF, I stand in favour of an “apprenticeship and professional training” programme funded by cohesion funds in order to enable countries whose educational system needs to be improved to catch up.
As far as the organisation is concerned, it would be appropriate to establish an “apprenticeship and professional training mission” within the Commission’s services (DG EMPL, DG EAC and DG REGI). And in order to refine our package, we should give the means to the young to ensure their mobility thanks to Erasmus Pro."
Strasbourg, 17 January 2018 - Speech in plenary session