'More money should be invested in education'

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The €1.5 billion package is aimed at getting 200,000 young Italians into work. Photo: Anna Monaco/AFP
08:30 CEST+02:00
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Wednesday announced a €1.5 billion plan to tackle Italy’s climbing unemployment rate, which has left 665,000 young people out of work. The Local finds out how the proposals are perceived by Italians.

“I think it’s a good idea because they’re helping young people,” said 32-year-old Gianfranco Navas. 

The government’s action plan focuses on job creation, by incentivizing employers to hire young people permanently. But Navas told The Local that more money should be invested in education: “The best thing for a country is to have a good education system." 

His view was echoed by Julia Benevento, 21: “Maybe the plan can help, [but] I think they should fund more research, fund universities and above all the public sector.”

With Italy’s youth unemployment rate now above 40 percent, more than three times the national rate of 12 percent, Letta said his aim is to get 200,000 young people into work.  The announcement comes just days after thousands took to the streets in Rome to protest against soaring unemployment. 

Serena Semprini, 22, remained sceptical. “He must do this, but we’ll wait to see if it’s genuine because unfortunately you don’t know."

The long-term impact of the measures is uncertain, said Silvana Sciarra, a professor of labour law at the University of Florence. However, initial signs are encouraging, she added.

“They’re going in the right direction when they want to use the European Structural Fund and other structural funds of the EU. This is one of the few measures at EU level that could have an impact.”

In the past Italy received money from the EU but failed to spend it, Sciarra added. The measures announced on Wednesday mark a shift started by the former Minister for Social Cohesion Fabrizio Barca and continued by Minister Carlo Trigilia, who took up the role in April.

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The measures were announced before Thursday's EU summit on youth unemployment in Brussels, which will include discussion on access to financing.

Although Italy’s youth unemployment rate is well above the EU average of 23.5 percent, the highest rate can be found in Greece where 62.5 percent of under-25s are out of work. Spain’s youth unemployment hit 56.4 percent in April, while Portugal’s rate stands just above Italy’s at 42.5 percent. 

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