Take this headline, for instance: EU summit to warn youth guarantee laggards. Let's not bother with the obvious point that what is starting today is not a Summit but a Council as it has now been more or less officially decided that every Presidency will have two Summits.
Let us look at the gist of the article in EurActiv:
EU countries that have not yet submitted their national plans to introduce so-called Youth Guarantee schemes will be requested to do so without delay at an EU summit, which opens in Brussels today (19 December).We have national plans, youth guarantee schemes, the Commission handing out money to member states who have submitted the best (or not so good plans). A proposed disaster of statist socialism, in other words, though that still does not make the EU anything like the Soviet Union.
Internal European Commission documents seen by EurActiv reveal that a majority of countries have not sent any plans and risk losing the funding for the initiative, aimed at tackling youth unemployment.
The draft conclusions of the summit, obtained by EurActiv, call on member states that have not yet submitted their Youth Guarantee Implementation plans to do so without delay.
Under the Youth Guarantee, young people without a job will be guaranteed an offer of employment, training or further education within four months of finishing school or becoming unemployed (see background).
A €6 billion pot in the EU budget for 2014-2020 has been set aside to tackle youth employment in regions with high levels of unemployment.
According to the Commission, the cost of not acting under the Youth Guarantee will in fact be much higher. The European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) has estimated the current economic loss of having 7.5 million young people out of work or education or training at over €150 billion for the EU every year (1.2% of EU GDP) in terms of benefits paid out and lost output.I do not suppose it has occurred to any of the people in Brussels that by taking money out of the economy of the various countries in order to operate these schemes (and that means paying the people who operate them as well as handing out money) they are actually making it less possible for young and not so young people to get jobs? No, I don't suppose it has. If a job is guaranteed then somehow it will materialize and central funding will be provided out of the taxes gathered. Certainly, it is useful to remember one particular saying from the old Soviet Union: "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work".
According to a Commission paper obtained by EurActiv, only 11 out of the 28 members have submitted national plans. The Czech Republic and Hungary have submitted a final draft, while France, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia have submitted a first draft.
The document shows that Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia and UK have not submitted their national plans within the required deadline.
However, Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands appear to be a special case. Austria and Finland have an excellent track record in combating youth unemployment and their experience is a source of inspiration for the EU, while Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark lead in averting youth unemployment, studies say.
But it may appear as a paradox that Greece, a country under bailout programmes,and Spain, with the highest rates of youth unemployment, and Bulgaria, the poorest country in the EU, have not made the necessary steps to receive EU funding to tackle youth unemployment.
Reportedly, the implementation of the Youth Guarantee is more complex than it appears at first sight. For many member countries, its implementation will require structural reforms. For example, public employment services must be able to ensure young people receive appropriate advice on job, education and training opportunities most relevant to their own situation.
Another area requiring structural reforms concerns vocational education and training systems, where member countries must ensure that they give young people the skills that employers are looking for. In this respect, trade unions, employers' organisations, educational establishments and public authorities have a role to play and prove their maturity.
Alas, given the thought processes of our own politicians, I do not think that this sort of nonsense would necessarily stop if we were out of the noxious European Union.