Committee of Employment and Social affairs
Commenting on the decision of the European Council of Ministers to back an EU Youth Guarantee, Lib Dem Employment Spokesman Phil Bennion MEP said: "This is a fantastic initiative to help a generation in danger of being left behind and builds on the example set by the UK coalition government.
"Under the EU scheme, young people up to the age of 25 should receive either an offer of employment, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed."
The Youth Guarantee is part of the Youth Employment Initiative and will be funded with €6 billion for the period 2014-2020, allocated to regions where youth employment exceeds 25%. The EPSCO meeting is where ministers from Britain and other national governments meet and work out an agreed line (or not) on EU policies.
The West Midlands MEP added: "This is a crucial part of the EU policy process and a real example of the UK's and other EU countries' individual influence. This decision which builds on the coalition's Youth Guarantee scheme shows that Britain's voice matters.
"On the Youth Guarantee, the UK has led the way. The Lib Dems in government have done a lot to help young people into work, education or training if they have been unemployed for more than 6 months and it makes sense for the EU Youth Guarantee to be compatible.
"The EU proposal has a 4 month deadline, but also includes using EU funds to achieve this more demanding target. It is in constructive negotiations like these that the UK thrives, especially when the ministers are Liberal Democrats who understand the EU and know how to work with other people constructively - such as the excellent Jo Swinson, who covers a lot of the EU Employment and Social Affairs files."
The Council of Ministers meeting also discussed the Annual Growth Survey on the recent sluggish economic performance of EU member states. This is particularly relevant to the Eurozone countries, many of which are under a lot of pressure to tackle their budget deficits and restore stability.
Phil Bennion MEP added: "The Survey is also useful in putting pressure on other countries to explain what they are doing to stimulate their economies, how they plan to create new jobs and keep their economies on track.
"In light of this weeks downgrading, George Osborne should take note of what is said and think carefully about how to stimulate growth with the prospects of a triple dip recession on the horizon in the UK. Many in Europe support Vince Cable's clear steer for the UK to make more far-reaching efforts to stimulate growth."