Some highlights include:
The skills mismatch problem is particularly acute for the 7.5 million young Europeans between 15 and 24 who are unemployed or not in any form of education or training (so-called NEETs).
The proposals outlined in our December 2012 Youth Employment Package aim to address this problem by ensuring that jobless young people can boost their chances of finding a job. The Member States are called to establish a Youth Guarantee scheme ensuring that all young people up to the age of 25 receive a quality job offer, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. I therefore urge Member States to adopt and implement such schemes urgently.
The risks of entering and escaping poverty vary greatly across Member States. The divergence is especially striking between the north and the south of the Eurozone. A widening gap is emerging between the countries confronted with fast rising unemployment and those that have better-functioning labour markets.
We set out an agenda for job creation and balanced labour market reform in the April 2012 Employment Package, and I will shortly present a Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion to address the growing risks of poverty and social exclusion.
As the crisis drags on, governments find it more difficult to invest in people and prevent economic and social exclusion. But we need social investment now, otherwise we will see a decline in economic potential and much larger social costs in the future.