"Commission’s plans to address youth employment in rural areas scant on detail" – Carthy
Commenting today on the Response of the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development to a joint Parliamentary Question submitted by MEPs across four EU Parliamentary Groups, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency, Matt Carthy has stated that the response is scant on detail of the European Commissioner’s plans to increase employment opportunities for young people in rural areas.
“Youth unemployment levels remain unacceptably high across the EU with the latest figures showing that, currently 24.5 million people across the member states are unemployed, with over 5 million of these under the age of 25.
“The ongoing lack of investment in critical infrastructure required to create sustainable employment opportunities for young people has resulted in high levels of youth unemployment and emigration for many rural communities.
“Moreover, between 2000 and 2010 the number of young farmers across the EU dropped by 34% with only 7.5% of the EU Farming population under 35 years of age.
“A number of MEPs, myself included, from across the different EU Parliamentary groupings recently co-signed and submitted a Parliamentary Question to Commissioner Hogan asking him to outline his plans to increase job creation for young people in rural areas, his plans to facilitate the entry of young people into the farming sector and also if he intends to work with the European Investment Bank to increase the start up opportunities for young people in rural areas.
“The response from the Commissioner, while acknowledging the fact that only 7.5% of the farming community is made up of those under 35 years of age, is unfortunately scant on the detail as to the specific measures the Commission intends to introduce to promote job creation of young people in rural areas and to attract more young people into farming.
“It is unfortunate that the Commissioner has chosen to respond in such an abstract manner to the legitimate concerns of several MEPs on such an important issue.
“It is clear that much more must be done by the Commission to ensure that employment opportunities for young people in rural areas are maximised and to prevent anomalies in the application of rural development policy by member states, for example, those farmers who are under 40 but who have been farming in their own right are excluded from some of the supports targeted at young farmers.
“I intend to raise this issue with the Commission again in order to obtain clarification of the specific measures being taken to address this issue and to highlight the importance of action by the Commission to support employment measures for young people in rural areas.”