World Bulletin / News Desk
The unemployment rate among young people in Europe is at an alarming level, said President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday.
At the high-level conference, 'Youth Guarantee: Making it Happen', on youth employment in Brussels, Barroso remarked that young people remain at the core of Europe's priorities as the bloc still struggles to recover from the impact of the global economic crisis.
Head of the commission described young people as the key to Europe's future dynamism and prosperity. "Their talents, skills and creativity are essential to ensure European's growth and competitiveness."
Barroso warned that youth unemployment has reached alarming levels, "representing a waste of human resources and talent that Europe simply cannot afford."
He noted that it is a challenge for Europe that growth is resuming, slowly but surely, but it urgently needs to be translated into job opportunities.
"Promoting youth employment, we concluded, must be our top priority. Or better said, our top priority is to fight unemployment, and inside this priority, the major issue we have is the issue of youth unemployment," he said.
He noted that it is early to say that the crisis is over although there are signs of recovery. "How can we say that the crisis is over with such unacceptable high levels of employment?," said Barroso.
Barroso said he expected unemployment in Europe to fall to 10.4 percent by 2016 but that major efforts will have to be made in order to tackle youth joblessness, which currently stands at 22.9 percent, almost twice as high as the overall rate in the European Union.
The unemployment rate in Europe is currently at 11.9 percent and there are still almost 26 million unemployed men and women in the EU, according to the latest figures from the European Commission.
Among the EU member countries, the highest unemployment rates for the month of February were found in Greece (27.5 percent) and Spain (25.6 percent) - two of the worst-hit economies in the 28-nation bloc.
The lowest levels were recorded in Austria (4.8 percent), Germany (5.1 percent) Luxembourg (6.1 percent) while it is 10.4 percent in France, almost double that of Germany.
The GDP in Europe is predicted to increase by 1.5 percent this year while the estimated rise for 2015 is 2 percent.Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2014, 17:22