Parliament's S&D group unveils €582bn plan to tackle EU unemployment

S&D group president Hannes Swoboda outlines his '10-point plan' to get 'Europe back to work'. Reports Gerald Callaghan

By Gerald Callaghan

08 Apr 2014

On Tuesday, at a press conference in the European parliament, Hannes Swoboda unveiled an ambitious plan to create at least seven million new jobs within the next few years.

The S&D group's 'Europe back to work' plan proposes several actions to tackle Europe's unemployment, including a €582bn investment in transport infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

It also sets out the goal of extending the 'European youth guarantee' programme to all unemployed workers under 30 years old and aims to cut red tape for new businesses and patent applications.

"As a consequence of a number of political mistakes, Europe is facing the longest recession since the 1930s" - Hannes Swoboda

The Austrian MEP said, "Today, 27 million Europeans are unemployed and 3.5 million jobs have been lost since 2008. As a consequence of a number of political mistakes, Europe is facing the longest recession since the 1930s. And it risks being a jobless recovery."

"Young people have been hit hardest. In some countries unemployment among young people is over 50 per cent.

"Europe needs a radical change of direction and new leadership, ready to make a new start, ready to make full employment the number one objective", added Swoboda.

In order to pull Europe out of the current crisis, the S&D group leader highlighted investment as the "main element" of the plan.

He was joined at the conference by Emilie Turunen, chair of parliament's S&D group jobs task force, who said that "tough and one-sided" austerity measures by the centre-right parties may result in Europe "losing a generation" of workers. Therefore, she said further EU inaction presented a "true danger for [the European] continent".

"Our 10-point plan shows that there is an alternative to unrelenting austerity", stressed the Danish MEP.

"Our €582bn investment plan can realistically create five million new jobs in the first three years" - Emilie Turunen

"By investing in infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewables we can break the vicious circle of recession and unemployment, and create a virtuous circle of jobs and growth.

"Our €582bn investment plan can realistically create five million new jobs in the first three years.

"Fully implementing the EU energy efficiency plan could yield an extra two million new jobs by 2020 and cut energy bills by €1000 per household, per year.

"However, fighting unemployment is not enough, we want also to create quality jobs, tackling the increase in the 'working poor' in Europe by gradually introducing national minimum wages of at least 60 per cent of the national average," added Turunen.

On Wednesday, the S&D group launches their online campaign, coinciding with the release of a promotional video featuring parliament's president Martin Schulz and several social-democrat prime ministers and leaders aiming to take the plan forward.

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