As reported by the media, the European Court of Auditors have found that there were methodological errors in dealing with the crisis in Greece, and it has called for a more stringent approach to future support programmes. In particular, the programmes did not adequately prioritise their relative importance and they were not embedded in a broader strategy for the country’. Although Greece was saved from default, the programmes only partially contributed to Greece’s recovery. The much-discussed third Greek bailout package is worth €86 billion and runs until the middle of 2018.
EU Youth Guarantee falls short
EU support programmes, such as the EU Youth Guarantee announced in 2013, are intended to address the gloom associated with persistently high EU youth unemployment. Despite billions being invested, there has been only limited success. It confirms the fear that additional EU funds only replace tight national budgets. Once again, these programmes fail to fully meet the needs of their recipients. The future problems of the next generation are self-evident with youth unemployment rates of around 41.5% (Spain), 35.2% (Italy) and 23.6% (France). Even an EU Labour Agency cannot change this if national funding is simply substituted by European funds.
Vocational training reduces youth unemployment
The internationally recognised dual vocational training system in Germany combines practical and theoretical content. Each year, around 600,000 traineeships and apprenticeships are offered in more than 340 occupations. This means that just over half of all adolescents in any given year can learn a profession. Labour market experts have advised EU countries with high youth unemployment to restructure their educational systems and to invest in systems similar to those in Germany. This will allow young people who are unskilled or overqualified (academic degree) to be given appropriate training in order to meet real demand in the labour market.
In order to tackle the shortage of skilled labour in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Employment Agency launched the MobiPro-EU special programme in 2013 to promote job mobility for young Europeans interested in vocational training. MobiPro-EU develops and tests tools that can help reduce language and recruitment barriers. With the start of training in 2016, the pilot project entered a phase of securing the insights gained after four rounds of vocational training. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Employment Agency and the project providers will use the remaining time in the programme to assess the results and experience gained so they can be used in future projects.