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Boylan calls for EU to do more to tackle youth unemployment following EU Court of Auditors report

5 April, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for the EU to do more to tackle youth unemployment following a Court of Auditors report which stated that the efforts of the Union had fallen short.

MEP Boylan said:

“The EU’s Youth Guarantee was a flagship EU Council policy designed to ensure that all young people up to the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. It intended to focus on young people who were ‘neither in employment, education or training’ (NEETS).

“However, a report released yesterday from the European Court of Auditors has stated that for a variety of reasons the Youth Guarantee has had a limited effect and failed to reach initial expectations.

“Ireland was one of the countries analysed in the report, and, unfortunately, our performance is in line with many of the failures across the EU as a whole. Indeed, the report shows how in spite of positive exits to employment, education, or training in all of the other countries covered in the report in 2015, Ireland had a negative level of exits.

“Further criticisms are levelled at the manner in how the youth guarantee was implemented in Ireland. In fact, it included a criticism that I have been raising for years; that the decision to focus on a narrow subpopulation would lead to a situation where a significant part of the NEET population was not targeted from the start. Young people with disabilities and single parents were among those excluded in Ireland. This method of exclusion is exactly what the Auditors raised as a major issue in the report.

“Indeed, while youth unemployment has dropped in Ireland in the past six years, return to employment does not seem to be one of the major reasons for this decrease. An in-depth analysis of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) clearly shows that youth in employment is lower now, Q4 2016 (the latest quarter for which statistics are available), than it was when Fine Gael entered government in Q1 2011.

“In order to make sure that we get young people back in employment, education, or training, there needs to be a symbiotic relationship between the EU and the Irish Government to ensure that there are guaranteed strategies with clear goals to reach all young people who need help, and to also ensure that EU funding is not used to replace national social welfare payments but is used to add extra value for these young people.” 

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