European Commission high level Conference

Ryder: Youth Guarantees, a good example for urgently needed, targeted and immediate action

At the high-level conference “The Youth Guarantee: Making it Happen,” hosted by the European Commission, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder praised the European Youth Guarantee as a concrete action to connect young people with labour markets and society.

News | 08 April 2014
BRUSSELS (ILO News) – The tragic reality of the youth employment crisis both globally and at a European level is unfortunately still with us, said ILO Director-General Ryder in a keynote speech to the conference.

Globally, the youth unemployment rate stands at 13.1 per cent, which means in absolute terms 74.5 million young people unemployed worldwide, 5.6 million of them in Europe. Without decisive action, the rate is expected to remain that high until at least 2018.

“If no action is taken, youth around the world will not be able to get a place in the labour market, nor to develop their economic potential or ultimately that of their families. Next to being a tragedy in itself, this clearly has repercussions for our economies and means that our societies will not be able to incorporate the dynamism and the innovation that young women and men bring to the labour markets that is vital for growth and sustainable development,” Ryder warned. In that light he saluted the European resolve, led by the European Commission, to make action on youth employment a top political priority.

Ryder congratulated the European Commission and national institutions throughout Europe for the launch of the Youth Guarantee as being “an innovative response to the exceptional crisis that rightly targets the most seriously affected amongst youth and amongst the countries and regions. It allows flexibility in combining different types of measures that work best in different country contexts – while maintaining the overarching objective of ‘guaranteed’ access to employment services, training and/or employment.”

The ILO cooperates in multiple ways on the European Youth Guarantee: by formulating recommendations for policy makers and practitioners, by proposing methodologies for estimating the costs of the Youth Guarantees and by providing analysis of the investment needed.

Youth Guarantees are not a panacea – as they need to be embedded in job-rich and inclusive growth policies to provide the demand boost that the global economy needs to recover from the crisis and start on a more sustained path. “But they are a concrete and necessary measure to restore hope, to connect young people with labour markets and society, to prevent de-skilling and to provide the opportunity of initial job experience. Youth Guarantees provide protection in difficult times and the skills that young women and men need to navigate through today’s labour markets, harder than ever to break into for the first time,” Ryder underlined.

He concluded by offering the ILO’s continued support in the next phases of the implementation and monitoring of the Youth Guarantees – in Europe and beyond.