EU unit to tackle youth unemployment in Ireland

A European taskforce is being dispatched to Ireland this month to tackle the youth unemployment crisis.

Ireland is one of eight eurozone states which European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has targeted for reinvigoration.

“We need to make a special effort to boost growth and tackle the problem of youth unemployment,” wrote Mr Barroso.

He said Ireland should set up an action team to come up with a strategy for getting young people back to work.

“These plans should, for example, set out specific policy and budgetary measures to support job creation and training for young people, tackling skills mismatches and early school leaving,” Mr Barroso went on.

The commission’s taskforce will visit the team in February to work on measures such as securing funding to boost the number of apprenticeships and traineeships in Ireland.

Mr Barroso said the team should also focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which could be a source of jobs.

“In relation to SMEs support, the action teams should focus particularly on opportunities to increase or accelerate access to finance for SMEs through use or redirection of EU-supported financial instruments,” Mr Barroso added.

Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Portugal and Latvia have been advised to do the same.

The issue arose during a European Council meeting during the Brussels summit at which the text of the European fiscal compact was finalised.

Mr Kenny said he was delighted these measures were discussed.

“The central issue of policies and governance is both the creation of jobs and growth of the economy,” Mr Kenny told RTE.

But Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald later dismissed the plans as fluff aimed at distracting the public from the harsh austerity measures likely to be imposed should the European treaty be passed.

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