Mediterranean states seek action on youth unemployment

BARCELONA, Spain: Youth unemployment dominated a Mediterranean economic conference being held in Barcelona on Wednesday.

The 10th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders saw business leaders from around the region propose private-sector projects for stability, regional development and youth unemployment.

Fathallah Sijilmassi, secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) said youth unemployment was an urgent issue in the region where the proportion of young people out of work, training or education had increased since the financial crisis.

According to the World Bank, youth unemployment in Egypt, Greece and Spain is almost at 43 percent; this figure is almost 20 percent in Turkey.

"The private sector's role in stability and regional development is vital, as well as creating employment for young people," Sijilmassi told delegates.

The public sector could not cope without the active role of the private sector, especially on youth unemployment, Sijilmassi warned.

Mohamed Choucair, president of the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), said: "The effect of refugees on unemployment is getting higher in the region, especially after the Syrian conflict.

"Regional cooperation starts with a better knowledge of the problems and better implementation of issues.

We need to look at what measures advanced economies are taking in order to overcome youth unemployment. If we reduce unemployment, economic empowerment of society will increase and social institutions will be more resistant," Choucair added.

The three-day leaders' forum is co-organized by ASCAME, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the UfM in collaboration with the European Institute of the Mediterranean and other prominent regional and international organizations.

Anadolu Agency is the event's Global Communication Partner. This is the second time the agency is participating in the event.

Source: Anadolu Agency