The CoR President underlined that "Cities and regions have the best understanding of the realities facing young people today and it is them who should be designing and developing youth programmes. It is the local and regional authorities which, for example, are best placed to develop links with SMEs and it is these authorities which can play a role in identifying skills mismatch, providing appropriate vocational training and incentivising investment in response to local demand". President Valcárcel also insisted on the need for increased interregional cooperation so that regions can work together in promoting the mobility of young people.

Also addressing the event, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, presented the "Youth Employment Package" adopted earlier this month and introducing a "Youth Guarantee" to ensure that all young people are in a job, education or training within four months after leaving school. "The European Commission is calling on all Member States to establish a Youth Guarantee. Regional and local authorities have a vital role to play to make these schemes a success. We must establish strong partnerships between all the actors concerned urgently, in order to ensure smoother transitions from education to work", he said.

The conference was also the occasion for the coordinator of the CoR's Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform, Michel Delebarre, Senator and Mayor of Dunkirk, to present the results of a survey assessing the extent to which “Youth on the Move” has provided the intended benefits to cities and regions. The results show that from a local and regional perspective, the initiative is providing added value by addressing multiple, interrelated issues together (e.g. higher education and vocational training, life-long learning, mobility, and unemployment). It also, however, underlines that cooperation between the different levels of government is critical because the EU and national governments set the broader parameters of policy while implementation details are best done by local authorities.

The event was the first of a series of conferences being organised over the next 12 month to look at the implementation of the seven Europe 2020 flagship initiatives at the local and regional level. By linking education with employment, the "Youth on the Move" initiative aims at increasing levels of education and training and reducing levels of youth unemployment, in line with the wider EU target of achieving a 75% employment rate for the working-age population by 2020. EU cities and regions are increasingly challenged to support youth employment: local and regional expenditure for social and employment policies are being cut, while the number of unemployed young people is dramatically increasing as a result of the crisis.

Source: CoR
Tags: Youth on the Move
Picture: EU Social via Flickr