Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 03:22
Skilled Foreign Workers Welcome
The government wants European unemployed youth with specific qualities to work in the Netherlands for working in the energy sector in North Groningen or as a technician in Southeast Brabant. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said this on Wednesday after a European summit on youth unemployment in Berlin. Rutte says that for example 'quality workforce’ from Italy, with several years of work experience, are welcome in places where Dutch companies are struggling to find skilled staff. The scale that Rutte wants to attract youth to the Netherlands will be a lot smaller than what Germany does. It's not about "guest workers", he said. Rutte further reiterated his statement from last week, ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, that countries with high youth unemployment also have to reform their labor markets. EU leaders discussed the possibilities to help each other fighting youth unemployment. Last week the EU countries made 8 billion euro available for countries where youth unemployment is higher than 25 percent. Especially in southern European countries, unemployment among people under 25 years is enormous. In Spain and Greece, it lies between 55 and 60 percent and in Portugal and Italy around 40 percent. In Croatia, an EU member since Monday, youth unemployment is 52 percent. In the Netherlands this is just over 10 percent. Only Germany and Austria score better within the EU. Wages Rutte said after the summit, which was an initiative of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the Netherlands does not have much to learn from Germany in the field of tackling youth unemployment. More generally, there is however an economic lesson to be learned from our eastern neighbors. Germany began in the 90's, in times of prosperity, with a moderate increase in wages. As a result, German companies now compete well with companies in other countries. Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher, who along with Rutte participated in the summit in Berlin, pointed out that the differences in the EU are gigantic. According to him, southern European countries have to reform their labor markets faster and more flexible. In Spain, for example, the employers often think that it is too great a risk to hire young people.