Dutch PM invites Europe’s skilled unemployed youth to the Netherlands

Dutch PM invites Europe’s skilled unemployed youth to the Netherlands

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A shortage of skilled workers in the Netherlands has influenced the Dutch PM to urge skilled European workers to move into the country’s energy and technical sectors.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte invited skilled unemployed workers to move into the energy sector in North Groningen, as well as the technical sector in Southeast Brabant, following a summit held last Wednesday in Berlin addressing Europe’s increasing youth unemployment.

“Quality workforces, for example, in Italy, with several years of work experience, are welcome in places where Dutch companies are struggling to find skilled staff,” Rutte said.

Rutte stressed that the Dutch government was focused on training local youths for technical professions in the energy sector in Groningen and Eindhoven. However, until the young people were ready for the labour market, the Netherlands still needed well-educated young people from abroad to fill the gaps.

Lessons from Germany
Rutte said the amount of young people coming to the Netherlands was a lot less than what Germany received. It is therefore not applicable to speak about ‘guest workers’ he said.

Following the summit, which was an initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rutte said that although the Netherlands did not have much to learn from Germany in the field of tackling youth unemployment, lessons could be drawn from Germany’s general labour policies.

For example, Germany began to increase wages moderately during times of prosperity in the 1990s. As a result, German companies now have competitive labour conditions compared to companies in other countries, which is helpful for attracting skilled workforces from abroad.

Little help for the Netherlands
EU’s leaders in Berlin discussed the possibilities to help combat youth unemployment, and agreed to allocate some EUR 8 billion for countries where youth unemployment was higher than 25 percent.

Southern European countries, in particular, have recorded considerably high unemployment rates among people under 25 years in the wake of deep recessions. Spain and Greece, for example, recorded youth unemployment rates between 55 and 60 percent, and Portugal and Italy around 40 percent. In Croatia, an EU member since Monday, youth unemployment is also high at 52 percent.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher, who along with Rutte also participated in the summit in Berlin, pointed out that the large differences among EU countries still remained a big issue. According to Asscher, southern European countries needed to reform their labour markets quicker and make them more flexible. In Spain, for example, rigid labour laws often make it too risky for employers to hire new personnel in the current crisis.

In contrast, the Netherlands recorded just over 10 percent unemployment. Only Germany and Austria scored better within the Eurozone. As such, it is unlikely these countries will receive any of the allocated aid to simulate youth employment.

Merkel: “It won’t happen overnight”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on the summit saying that the problem of youth unemployment in Europe can only be solved by implementing the right policies.

"We have deliberately not talked about the money we have available, but on the actions we can take to increase chances in the labour market for  young people,” said Merkel. "We must acknowledge and communicate in a clear way that we cannot solve the problem overnight.”

The money allocated for countries with high rates of unemployment was made available last week, however, as it was released as part of the EU multi-year budget, it may not be spent until 2014 and 2015.


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ANP, Reuters / Expatica

3 Comments To This Article

  • Winnie posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 17:30:28 - Reply

    This article makes zero sense how can you be highly skilled, a youth, and unemployed?? I would assume they are hiring YOUNG people whom they can train to do the work they are asking for. It sounds like they learned their job when they were 5 years old and suddenly became unemployed at 18 but they have been working their job half their life.
  • carrico posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 16:51:19 - Reply

    Or move to Lisbon, whose highly-skilled workers will soon be moving to Groningen, where they can work/study.
  • elvis posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 14:26:17 - Reply

    If you want to eat bread and cheese everyday for lunch and ride bikes at -5 degrees in winter learn a language only 16 million people speak and get a salary of half what you would get in Northern America (US or Canada), then you are welcome. Otherwise, move to the US or Canada.