The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has said youth unemployment is a major priority for the EU.
Appearing on a special euronews live edition of i-Talk, he fielded questions from euronews viewers all over Europe.
Giuseppe from Brussels asked: “President Barroso, 22 per cent of young people in the EU are unemployed, and the youth unemployment rate is over 50 per cent in Greece and Spain. The Commission has made positive steps to work on quality internships and the youth guarantee. However, there has been less focus on precarious jobs. What will the EU do to ensure that young people can find quality and stable work, and will the EU stand up for the emplyment and social rights of young people in this era of austerity?”
The Commission president answered: “Yes, that is one of our priorities – precisely the problem of employment and specifically youth employment. The best way to have sustainable employment and not precarious employment is precisely for countries to stimulate growth. And growth can come with confidence, and also with the structural reforms that give our countries competitiveness. That is why, to solve the issue of euro-area (i.e: the problems of the euro-zone), confidence is so important, because only then will we have the necessary investment.
euronews presenter Alex Taylor said: “The creation of the euro has generated a crisis in confidence which perhaps wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
“It is true that we have specific challenges in the euro, because we were not prepared institutionally with all the instruments to face the situation. But it is not true that it was the euro that created the crisis.”
David posed the question from Edinburgh: “President Barroso, you’ve spoken of creating a federation of nation states. Given the anxieties about the current economic crisis, how successful will the EU be in pushing for further integration?”
“I think it is important to be honest with our people. I think the future of Europe is through more integration. With more integration comes more democracy, and a federation is the democratic solution for this unity, because it keeps the nations – our countries – but at the same time it clarifies some rules of sharing the power, sharing sovereignty.”
Mr Barroso also spoke about how extreme left or right wing views must be heard in a European democracy and he talked of the need to win hearts and minds in Europe.
You can watch the whole programme here