The EPP Group today called on EU governments to support any measures that help young entrepreneurship in a move to fight the unacceptable 21% rate of youth unemployment in the EU.
"Our objective has been to openly debate what could be the best measures at European level to support young entrepreneurship. The European Commission put some important proposals on the table last December which should be urgently addressed", explained Pablo Zalba MEP after a Hearing on the issue hosted by the EPP Group.
The meeting, also organised by French MEP Damien Abad, counted the participation of the European Commissioner for Employment, Daniel Calleja, Director of Entreprise & Industry, European Commission, Claudio Boada, President of the Spanish 'Círculo de Empresarios', as well as representatives from innovation companies such as Google, Tuenti, EyeOS, NASF and from different entrepreneurship institutes across the EU.
"In my view, the proposals launched by the European Commission and the call to use €30 billion from the European Social Fund (ESF), that the Member States have not yet spent, should be urgently approved to help young people who want to create their own companies and start-ups. Otherwise, we will be facing a 'lost generation' in Europe", Pablo Zalba said.
At a cost of €2 billion a week to face unemployment, more than 5 million young unemployed people in the EU and around 7.5 million between 15 and 24 years old have no job or studies enabling them to find a job: "We need urgent, dramatic and radical measures", he underlined.
"90% of companies in Europe are SMEs. Therefore, resumption of growth will be possible through entrepreneurship. Europe must promote a culture which is more favourable to companies and help young people materialise their ideas, innovate and take initiatives. This is why we must support measures proposed by the European Commission in December, but also programmes such as Galileo and 'Young Innovators Mobility' which give opportunities to young people", said Damien Abad MEP.
The Hearing mobilised MEPs, representatives of companies, and people responsible for entrepreneurship studies. "But government action is a key factor to generating an environment were young people feel that they have opportunities", Mr Zalba concluded.