Hannes Swoboda: „It is time to live up to our responsibilities to young people“
Ahead of the EU Summit today in Brussels where heads of state and government will meet to discuss the future of Europe, with a special focus on energy policy and the fight against tax evasion, Hannes Swoboda commented:
„With 26.5 million unemployed in Europe – and 1 in 2 young people without a job – we can no longer remain silent. No party should do so at a time like this, and we as Socialists and Democrats have a clear mandate for a change of direction in European politics.
„The EU budget allocates €6 billion to invest in the fight against youth unemployment over the next seven years. This is peanuts compared to what is actually needed, with youth unemployment rates reaching record highs – over 60% in Spain.
„The budget negotiations must bring about a major improvement. We should be able to mobilise more funds to be spent as soon as possible. The €6 billion for youth employment should not be distributed over seven years but a big part should be financed immediately. The additional money for later years could then be found for youth unemployment through the flexibility clause in the budget.
„If we take action now and fight tax evasion seriously, €1 trillion could be repatriated every year in Europe. This is money we could get back from those who are not willing to pay it to invest in those who really need it: the poor, the deprived and the unemployed, whether young or old.
„This means that while we lose €1 trillion every year to tax evasion we only have €6 billion to invest in the fight against youth unemployment over seven years. This shows a clear imbalance in the system and we have to take action to rectify it.
„In this respect the energy sector also plays a crucial role. The investment in renewable energy and a greener economy would generate up to 8 million urgently needed jobs through increasing resource efficiency, implementing energy efficiency measures and boosting renewable energies.*
„It is time for a change now.“
ECORYS (2012), ‚The number of Jobs dependent on the Environment and Resource Efficiency improvements‘ (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/jobs/pdf/jobs.pdf); SWD (2012) ‚Exploiting the Employment Potential of Green Growth‘, 92final, 18.4.2012