The European Commission (CE) should prepare an Erasmus Professional Internships Program addressing unemployed young people under 25 in the EU. The European SME’s certainly would be the partners of such an initiative stated MEP Iuliu Winkler (RMDSZ, EPP) last Friday, addressing European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget, Jan Lewandowski, in a debate on the re-launch of competitiveness and the contribution the EU budget can make to the process. Iuliu Winkler is member of the Political Bureau of the EPP Group in the European Parliament and attended a meeting in Dubrovnik dedicated to Croatia’s EU accession.
“In terms of unemployment we face a difficult situation in the UE, taking into account the 5,6 million unemployed persons under 25. They belong to the so called NEET – category: not in employment, education of training. Where are these young people now if they are not studying and are not following internship programs? Are they on the streets, where they become eurosceptics, and then they go and vote, for example as in Italy for Beppe Grillo or in Hungary for the Jobbik (extreme right party). They become extremists and xenophobes”, highlighted the MEP.
According to him, the EC should multiply the success of the Erasmus Program and create an Erasmus Professional Internships Program addressing unemployed young people under 25 in the EU, adding that it is the duty of the EPP to promote such a program.
“We have jobless youths all over Europe and on the other hand we have SME’s looking for qualified work force. We need to create the system where demand and offer can meet at European level”, Iuliu Winkler explained.
The MEP expressed his regrets that the Erasmus Program – one of the most successful projects of the EU will suffer significant budget cuts in the 2014-2020 MFF of the EU. Iuliu Winkler stressed that now, on the background of an ever growing economic and social crisis, the EU should invest more than ever in young people, because they are the ones who will build the EU of the future.
Thus, according to the MEP, the new program should be included as a module into the Youth Employment Package, based on financial support from the EU, offering intern- or apprentice-ships within European SME’s for time periods of minimum 6 months for young people aged under 25. This program should involve mobility, one of the fundamental principles of the EU. Iuliu Winkler expressed his belief that co-financing by the EU would make it attractive for the SME’s to participate in such a project. Of course, the Youth Employment Package is also an important initiative, but it only can be put into practice by the joint efforts of the European institutions and the Governments of the MS’s.
According to the last Eurostat figures, the unemployment rate within the EU at the beginning of April was of 26,3 million people, 19 million of whom being localized in the non-euro zone area, and 5,6 millions being young people under 25.
The main topic under debate in Dubrovnik within the meeting of the Political Bureau of the EPP was related to the political, economic and social situation in Croatia before EU accession. Sustainable development and job creation within the EU was the second major topic on the agenda of the EPP Group of the European Parliament within the debate on the re-launch of competitiveness and the contribution the EU budget can make to the process. Besides European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget, Jan Lewandowski, EC vice-president Viviane Reding also attended the meeting.