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Thank you for the kind
words of welcome.
It is very gratifying to be here today, and to discuss the most pressing issue
facing us today: the lack of jobs.
I could think of no better
event to make a first appearance among you as Prime Minister.
And I look much forward to work closely with all of you.
My Government, which came
into office only last Friday, has made jobs and employment its top priority.
We have set ourselves an ambitious mark:
to have the lowest unemployment rate in the EU by 2020.
Let me say some words on
how we plan to approach this challenge.
Firstly, by investing in
The key to results in employment is education, skills acquisition, and
My Government therefore intends to make every youth pass secondary education
and raise the quality and offer of higher education.
That will contribute to unlock the potential and talent among our youth, which
is a tall task facing us all.
My Government will also
introduce a 90 day guarantee for unemployed youth.
Every young person will be offered a job, an internship, a trainee job or an
education within a maximum 90 days of unemployment. I'm very proud to deliver
* * *
Secondly, we need competitive economies to make jobs grow.
Trade is essential to drive growth, as is innovation.
My background is in manufacturing, and I understand its importance in a modern
I have therefore set up an
Innovation Council under my direction, for cooperation and coordination of
innovation policy. My Government aims to increase the share of GDP devoted to
research and development.
Growth must also be
We should embrace, boldly
and smartly, the greening of our economies and societies.
The jobs of the future lie
in saving our planet.
Amongst other, we must place a greater bet on renewables.
Important discussions are
ahead of us on this issue,
but it is worth recalling the long-term implications for competitiveness and
* * *
Thirdly, we must be serious about the participation of women in the labour
Closing the gap between
male and female employment rates would increase EU growth considerably - by
some estimates more than 12 percent by 2030.
under-utilization of women in the labour force represents an erosion of human
That is something the EU cannot afford.
Sweden was pleased to join
many other member states, as well as the Italian presidency, in writing a
letter to the
Commission on this subject.
It called for an increased attention to gender equality in the Europe 2020
The headline target of 75 percent employment for women and men by 2020 will
only be reached if there is a clear and stronger commitment to gender equality.
We hope this will inform the review of the strategy.
* * *
In closing, I believe that we have avenues and tools to address the challenge
of youth unemployment.
The Europe 2020 Strategy
and the European Semester provide opportunities to take work forward on many of
the issues raised by us today, particularly on growth enhacing measures.
Nevertheless, one size
seldom fits all.
Expansion of labour,
decent work for all,
and structural reforms all require national action,
to be effective and legitimate.
To share experiences, like
we are doing today, is a great way to enhance our understanding and to increase
the impact of our policies.
I am pleased to now be part
of this effort.
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