HC Deb 23 October 2002 vol 391 cc315-6W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress made to date on the target to halve unemployment among 18 to 24–year-olds by 2010 throughout the European Union set at the European Council's meeting at Lisbon. [75249]

Malcolm Wicks

The Lisbon European Council in 2000 set targets to increase employment rates rather than reduce youth unemployment rates. It agreed that, by 2010, the EU should aim to increase its total employment rate to 70 per cent. and to increase the employment rate for women to 60 per cent. The Commission and the Council will issue a Joint Employment Report in November 2002, which will provide the latest available data against these and other targets set at Lisbon, as well as summarise action being taken by Member States to achieve them.

Current Eurostat figures show that between August 2000 and August 2001, EU youth unemployment (15–24) fell from 15.3 per cent. to a low of 14.6 per cent., before rising again to 15.3 per cent. in June 2002. Latest figures for each Member State are given below. The European Employment Strategy, the main instrument for action to increase employment, will operate in a revised form from next year, and will focus more clearly on reaching the employment rate goals agreed at Lisbon.

Male and Female Unemployment: Under 25 years (Eurostat August 2002)
2000/August 2002/June
EU 15 15.3 15.3
B 16.5 18.4
DK 6.9 8.5
D 8.5 9.9
EL 29.7 26.1
E 22.0 22.2
F 19.4 20.9
IRL 6.4 8.2
I 30.6 27.3
L 7.2 9.6
NL 6.2 5.7
A 5.3 6.9
P 8.9 10.7
FIN 21.2 21.0
S 10.8 11.0
UK 12.1 12.1