Katainen: Finland has strong commitment to fight unemployment

Finnish Premier Jyrki Katainen with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta. Photo by Gianfranco Nitti.
ROME  -  At a press conference with Enrico Letta during his recent visit to Rome, we asked the Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen about the measures Finland has taken to tackle the problem of youth unemployment, an issue which also holds a European dimension.
 
Prime Minister Katainen politely replied: "In the early 90s, I was a university student, Finland was going through a deep depression, more or less in the same situation where Portugal is now. Those years were very difficult also, in particular, for the employment of young people, and not many resources were available to devote to such a problem, and too many young people did not work or do something reasonable for too long; now we can also say we have lost too many young people. At that time there were many young people like me who wanted to pursue studies at the university for as long as possible because we felt it was the safest place to stay anyway; so we learned our lesson, and we have launched a package of guarantees for young people, probably the first country in Europe to do so ... To all young people under the age of 25, the state offers opportunities to study, or apprenticeships, or job training or jobs, and anything that allows them not to stay at home doing nothing for too long. These patterns seem to work. Lately, the government has decided to combine, better than before, among them, social security measures and wages. In fact, those who do not work may possibly not immediately lose the subsidies that they get if they find a part-time job or small jobs, this is in order not to discourage them in case the job found, by itself, would be insufficient. This is what we have learned from experience, and we will not repeat the mistakes of the past."
 
The Prime Minister referred to the program called Nuorisotakuu or "Youth Guarantee". Youth Guarantee has been included in the programme of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen's government, with a view of promoting employment and preventing social exclusion among young people. The guarantee sets out to provide all young people with realistic opportunities to pursue and complete a post-basic qualification and to find employment, while ensuring that young people are not left to get stuck in a period of non-activity for too long.
 
As a spearhead project of the government programme, Youth Guarantee therefore falls within the scope of special government investments and monitoring.
 
Youth* Unemployment Rate for August 2013:
 
FINLAND 19.70%
ITALY

40.10%

* (15-24 years’ old)

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Finnish Premier Jyrki Katainen in Italy. Photo by Gianfranco Nitti.