Europe has no time to lose, young people have no time to lose. Young people should be helped and not be left alone,” said ECA Member Iliana Ivanova today, speaking at the European Court of Auditors (ECA) conference on youth employment in the European Parliament. Ms Ivanova recognised that young people in many EU countries were experiencing serious difficulties in finding a job and said that the Youth Guarantee played an important role in this regard.

But it could not be a panacea. “This complex issue needs a holistic approach,” she insisted, concluding that “Policymakers should make sure that EU policy does not raise expectations that cannot be fulfilled. This is particularly critical for young people.”

The conference was opened by ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne, who acknowledged that providing jobs and education for the young generation remained one of the EU’s biggest challenges and warned that it would shape the way the Union was seen by its citizens in the future. “We must ensure that the Union gives young Europeans a perspective to base their lives upon – that the Union is their perspective,” added Mr Lehne.

The ECA’s conference “Youth Employment – confronting challenges and finding soltions” followed on from a number of audit reports over recent years on jobs for young people, in which the EU auditors looked at the effectiveness of EU policies to help tackle the problem of youth unemployment across the EU Member States. During the conference the auditors discussed with high-level representatives from EU Institutions, employment organisations and young people whether EU policies were delivering results and what the best way forward was.

Speakers included European Parliament Vice-President Pavel Telička, MEPs Martina Dlabajova and Derek Vaughan, Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Marianne Thyssen, and Neil Kerr and Janar Holm from the Council’s current Maltese and upcoming Estonian presidencies.