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Parties discuss youth jobless measures

Economics minister Joseph Deiss and Christian Democrat president Doris Leuthard Keystone Archive

Switzerland’s main political parties have agreed on the need to tackle the rising tide of youth unemployment at a meeting with the government.

This content was published on February 11, 2005 - 17:08

But differences remain over a series measures proposed by Economics Minister Joseph Deiss.

The official jobless rate among 15- to 24-year-olds currently stands at 5.1 per cent, against a national average of 4.0 per cent.

The figures prompted calls for action from political quarters as well as trade unions ahead of talks on Friday between the leaders of Switzerland’s four main parties and cabinet members.

“I am pleased that nobody has demanded unreasonable measures such as tax breaks,” said Deiss after the meeting.

He said he was pleased to see that the parties agree in principle with a raft of measures, including support for employers that offer apprenticeship places and funding for training.

Deiss added that the integration of young people into the working world should take place through training and through cooperation with companies.

Support

This stance is largely shared by the four parties in government – the centre-left Social Democrats, the centre-right Christian Democrats and Radical party as well as the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

They also came out in favour of a plan to create more work-experience places and measures to reduce administrative overheads, according to Doris Leuthard, president of the Christian Democrats.

However, the People’s Party dismissed the action plan as hot air and called for increased efforts to improve school education.

The Social Democrats and the trade unions criticised the measures as not going far enough.

Last weekend a union said it would launch a campaign against youth unemployment in the next few weeks.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Around 30,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed in Switzerland.
This translates to 5.1 per cent compared to a national average of 4.0 per cent.
And is about ten per cent more than at the same time last year.

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