The meeting was expected to focus on employment and jobs on the one hand, with a particular emphasis on youth unemployment, and steps towards completing economic and monetary union. Neither subject area produced innovative results.
Governments throughout Europe recognise youth unemployment as a ‘particular and immediate objective’ with the number of unemployed young Europeans being unacceptably high. If the situation had improved in recent months, the more relaxed pace with which leaders are approaching this issue would be understandable. The political will to find money to invest is no more evident in this summit than any other. 6 billion euros, as previously agreed will be dispersed in order to put the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) into place, with the hardest hit regions receiving the first of the money. Put in context of the next Multi-Financial Framework (MFF), 6 billion euros equates to 0.6%.
Heads of State and Government ‘committed’ to increasing efforts into finding extra available money to be invest in the fight against youth unemployment. The extra funding would only be available if money was leftover at the margins of the ceilings for the MFF. In other words, if the budget is spent as planned, extra funding will not be available.
A focus on high quality apprenticeships as part of the overall strategy in the fight against youth unemployment was also acknowledged by the European Council. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships, launched today in Germany, aims to promote work-based learning. CESI will be represented at this launch event.
CESI welcomes the commitment for social partners to be fully involved and actively engaged. All social partners, at the national and the European level, have a contribution to make. Therefore it is important that all recognised social partners be allowed to make their contribution.
While the European Council held its June summit meeting, CESI was holding a symposium in Lyon on building an area of freedom, security and justice. This was appropriate timing given June 2014 summit will focus on defining guidelines for legislative and operational planning in this area. The contributions of participants at the symposium will be compiled in a document to be sent to the institutions in the lead up to this date. CESI will be an active participant in the process of reflection asked for by Heads of State and Government in its conclusions.