A Citizens’ Agora to combat youth unemployment

Martin SCHULZ-Isabelle DURANTNow more than ever, Europe must stand shoulder to shoulder with its young people. Now more than ever, in these times of crisis, their present and their future are at stake.

It would be wrong to generalise – the situation is certainly not the same in Madrid and Athens, in Berlin and Amsterdam, or in Nicosia and Lisbon. For you and for most of the millions of young Europeans who make up your generation, however, completing or funding your studies, finding not just a short-term job or a traineeship but real employment, starting your own project or your own business, living independently and renting an apartment are all part of the same daily struggle. For many of you, indeed, these things are quite simply out of the question.

The onus is on us to respond to the economic recession which is currently ravaging Europe by devising policies to support employment for young people, in all areas of the economy. Without that support, you will not be able to look ahead to the future with confidence. And without that confidence, you will not have the courage to start making a life for yourselves, to innovate, to take risks.

Our idea is that you should talk about all these things, compare your experiences, and identify the alternatives and the proposals which make sense, working together as young Europeans, regardless of your qualifications, your circumstances or your origins.

We want to see an open dialogue, discussions between those of you who are in full-time employment, who are setting out on your careers, and those of you who are still stuck in menial jobs, or who are unemployed. Because we believe that there are lessons to be learned from all your life stories and that the proposals which you will come up with together are valuable. These questions and joint proposals will then be debated, in the presence of parliamentarians, at a major youth forum to be held in May 2014.

We need you.
A European integration process which places greater emphasis on cohesion, sustainability and cooperation, and which pays greater heed to the needs and hopes of its young people, will be impossible without you.

           Martin SCHULZ

          Isabelle DURANT

The Agora of the European Parliament on youth unemployment can be followed from the 6 to the 8 of November thanks to #agora2013 on Twitter. It can also be followed via webstreaming