Relaunching Europe

4th December, 2012

Relaunching Europe was attended by a large number of delegates who gathered in Nottingham on Saturday to hear what Socialists and Democrats want to see changed  in the European Union.

The theme was youth unemployment and many of the delegates were young people. In the absence of any serious policy from the Conservative led UK government they were coming to hear for themselves and contribute to what the solutions might be.

Opening the Conference Glenis Willmott (no relation) Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament was clear that youth unemployment is having a devastating impact on the lives of young people right across Europe. She said that:

“Unless we take action now we risk creating a lost generation, let down by out of touch decisions and short term interests.

But politicians alone cannot solve this crisis. We have to listen to the experiences of young people who are affected……to respond to this growing crisis and stand up for the next generation”.

So were there any solutions presented? There were many ideas and perhaps the most strategic came from a full frontal attack on the politics of austerity from Hannes Swoboda President of the S&D Group. Cuts necessary to deal with budget deficits across the EU should be implemented more slowly over a longer period of time, he argued. The resources freed up by this should be invested in measures to address youth unemployment that is now over 50% in Spain and Greece and a major issue in many other countries.

This policy is right and we heard about how the Youth Guarantee could help to tackle this problem. It is a guarantee that ensures that every young person in Europe is offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed.

This is all very well and deserves our support as a start. However it is not likely to solve the problem or deal with the long term unemployed…many of who are young, remember the definition of long term here is only one year.

We need longer term schemes that train people with real skills, acknowledging that many skills take years rather than months to learn. This represents real investment in the future of our country and the EU through investing in young people. This needs to be coupled to real partnerships with businesses so that people are placed into jobs that are permanent and have long term prospects. Then we should track those people and help them and their employer sustain the employment. This is the way in which public money can be used as we did in Leicester with Work Highcross. Placing hundreds of long term unemployed people into permanent jobs.

The other side of the equation is using public money to create the conditions for businesses to thrive. As we did with the work I led on the regeneration in Leicester and our work on district heating to mitigate climate change and fuel poverty.

What I want to see is Euro cash going into proper training schemes that last years not months and long term job creation through funding of green energy and recycling creating thousands of much needed jobs that benefit unemployed people and the environment.

I have great hope that Ed Miliband, who was at the conference, would be able to deliver this as Prime Minister alongside a strong Labour presence in the EU.




Back to page top

Leave a comment

Your name is required
Your email is required

Your email will not be published

A comment is required

Please fill out the form in full


Please correct the errors as indicated