The Church and Society Commission (CSC) of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in collaboration with the European Parliament and the member churches organized a conference on Youth Unemployment between 26-26 March 2014 in Brussels. More than fifty representatives of churches and youth organizations across Europe participated. The Church of Cyprus was represented by Deacon Fr. Nektarios Ioannou.
The representatives of the churches discussed in length the problem of youth unemployment in the European Union. Three unemployed young persons from Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain spoke about the difficulties facing as graduated scientists until today because of unemployment. The economic dependence from their parents, the despair, and the lack of meaning in life, the depression and the lack of prospects of finding a job are some of the elements composing the lives of young people today. At the end of the session was discussed in working groups the ways to help young people by the local churches. Father Nektarios stressed that from the 19% of unemployment in Cyprus, the 32% are young people and even universities graduates. The Church supports the unemployed young people through various initiatives such as free meals, psychological support mandated by priests, paying bills, rents, the distribution of breakfast in schools, free courses provided to poor young people and many others.
The representatives of the European Council, of the European Parliament and of the European Youth Forum, spoke to the representatives of churches and developed the activities and the programs in progress to face youth unemployment during the morning of 25 of March when the team visited the European Parliament. The representative of the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary affairs spoke about the Program ‘’Young’s Warranty'' from which will be given 6 billion euro on youth unemployment in Eurozone. The Commission and the European Parliament elaborate the ways of disposal of these funds and their recipients. The representative of the European Youth Forum underlined that the program does not actually solve the problem of youth unemployment because the European Union sees only numbers and not the real problems of young people. The allocation of this money may solve in short-term the financial problem of young people but not in a long term. The available amount of money to the European countries for the unemployed youth cannot ensure the future of young people thus a personal residence or a family is not in their immediate plans. The representative of the European Parliament stressed the need for compensatory measures for European countries that do not need financial aid.
The representatives of the churches were divided in working groups when they returned to the conference center and discussed extensively the various ways and the initiatives will be taken by the churches to resolve the problem of youth unemployment. The need of the development of a social policy and of a greater charity programs for the young people by the member states and the European Union were underlined. Moreover, they stressed the need of the promotion of education, the preparation of young people for searching a job, the promotion of the various European programs in local churches concerning the youth and the learning of foreign languages for a better training.