Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has called on youngsters to become 'rediscovered' in an effort to to tackle youth unemployment.
The president attended a high-level conference in Paris on youth unemployment, hosted by French President François Hollande on Nov. 12.
National leaders held talks over entrepreneurship of young people and ensure the funding of youth employment programmes.
"Young people in Lithuania and in the whole of Europe are well-educated, skilled and proactive," said President Grybauskaite.
"However, six million young people - two Lithuanias - are jobless and cannot contribute to promoting the well-being in Europe. Their potential and knowledge is not used. Young people should become rediscovered, not lost, generation. It is therefore crucial to pool national and EU efforts to employ them and reveal their talents."
It's the second high-level meeting in six months devoted to tackling youth unemployment. At the beginning of Lithuania's EU Presidency, this problem was analyzed by the heads of state of EU members at the Berlin conference.
When presenting Lithuania's experience and national actions the President underlined the need to promote entrepreneurship and initiatives of the young. She noted that a success story of the young Lithuanian IT company Pixelmator that not only created jobs for the talented young people of Lithuania, but also surprised the world, is an example to the whole of Europe.
According to the President, the first job programme and other initiatives to promote business and support start-ups, chosen by Lithuania, have also yielded results. They created jobs for more than one hundred thousand young people which resulted in 11 percent decrease of youth unemployment over a year. The President had initiated amendments that will serve to facilitate apprenticeship and first-job opportunities for young people.
As the EU Council Presidency, Lithuania is working to accelerate implementation of the common European youth employment instruments, the President said.
She pointed out that by placing innovation and digital economy on the priority list both at national and EU level we will employ more young people. Therefore, special focus must be on building the Digital Single Market as it will allow employing more than 900,000 IT specialists.
Measures that stimulate SMEs' growth and reduction of administrative burden on them, as well as implementation of the Services Directive, can give an extra impetus to adding jobs for the young. Europe's small and medium-sized businesses create more that 70 percent of jobs, mainly in the sector of services.
EU support funds must also be effectively used to boost youth employment. It is therefore vital to agree as soon as possible on the new EU budget in which 6 billion euros are earmarked for stimulating employment of the young people. Every young person must be given a job, training or apprenticeship opportunity.