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Draghi urges action on youth unemployment

Draghi urges action on youth unemployment

Mario Draghi has made a fresh plea to eurozone governments to reform their labour markets and improve the prospects of young people, saying higher unemployment rates for younger workers had high costs for society.

Mr Draghi said in his first public speech in Ireland that the weight of the crisis had fallen disproportionately on young people.

It had, he said, left “a legacy of failed hopes, anger and ultimately mistrust in the values of our society and in the identity of our democracy.”

Youth unemployment rates surged around the eurozone during the worst years of economic crisis, with more than 50 per cent of young people in Greece and Spain looking for work but unable to find a job. Ireland was among the countries harder hit, with the European Central Bank playing a controversial role in the country’s crisis management.

The rates of joblessness for young people were much lower in Germany and Austria — countries that Mr Draghi said had better vocational training that targeted more vulnerable younger people.

“The vocational education system, together with more flexible wage setting, and stronger public support for helping the unemployed to seek and find jobs, as well as lower labour market segmentation explain in part why the youth unemployment rate is lower in Germany than in France,” the ECB president said.

While the eurozone’s economic recovery was lowering youth unemployment — and would continue to do so — governments around the region also had to reform their labour markets and ensure “a uniform degree of protection among workers, flexible labour arrangements, effective vocational training programmes, a high degree of trade progress and support to reduce the social cost of mobility.”

Mr Draghi added: “Governments know how to respond… They should do so: for the future of their countries’ youth and of their democracy.”

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