How do politicians create jobs

Create jobs - but how?

Fariba Mavaddat, Euronews:
There are more than 25 million unemployed in Europe, 17 million of them in the euro area alone. One in five young people in the EU cannot find a job - that is almost 5 million in total. In some countries, youth unemployment is even above 40 percent - for me now Guy Ryder, the newly appointed director of the UN labor organization ILO.

Mr Ryder, in your inaugural address in May you said, and I quote: “It is a great challenge, in the midst of the global crisis, to help these millions of people improve their lives”.
How are you going to do that?

GR:
Well, you are describing the drama of European unemployment and I think it is really dramatic. What I meant in my inaugural address was that, if this is to be a success, the ILO really has to reach the lives of these people.
This can be done in different ways: We work together with all ILO member states, 185 countries after all.

We cooperate with these countries on many levels, for example in the technical area, then we also try to influence the politics of the individual states in order to get the economy going again and to generate the growth that we need so urgently at the moment .
I think the ILO has an important role to play in this context and I will do my best to live up to this role.

Euronews:
You have called on many states to cooperate with you. Are you being listened to? Does the ILO even have teeth - and how sharp are they?

GR:
Like many international organizations, we need to make it clear what we think is “right”. It has to be about not just giving people work, but giving them decent work that they can live on.

Euronews:
That's all well and good: but it's not that simple. What is currently happening in Europe is that governments and businesses are only creating a small number of jobs. IF jobs are created at all, then often on a part-time basis. But that doesn't just mean insecurity and increasing social tensions
but also creates poverty. How do you intend to approach this problem? There are no other jobs to be had ...

GR:
You are right - it must not only be about the number of new jobs, but also about their quality. However, part-time work should also find its rightful place in the labor market. But they should be available as an optional alternative, not as the sole option because of the lack of full-time jobs. We now have a situation, not only in Europe but worldwide,
where states have to watch out for their finances.
We survived the low of the financial crisis, but it left a huge hole in national budgets. Unfortunately, it is often precisely the labor market that is particularly affected by austerity measures. I think we should rethink this compulsory saving path that we are on. The current situation shows that we are not getting anywhere.
Of course, we also have to prepare people better for the job market, especially offering younger people better training. For this we need special programs: I am for one
universal guarantee, which assures every young person after leaving school an apprenticeship or initial work experience.

Euronews:
That sounds good, but in fact there is no financial means for it. It is already the case that pensioners' pensions are reduced. The necessary money is simply not available ...

GR:
Ohhh! I would just like to say that.
Take this concept of job guarantee for young people: it is actually very cheap for governments. According to our estimates, it only takes 0.5 percent of an average household to offer young people such a guarantee. It's not that expensive!
Experience in Sweden or Finland has shown that these programs are quite successful. In fact, you refinance yourself relatively quickly. You have to see it as an investment, not an expense.

Euronews:
Again in detail: You speak of training.
However, training is limited in time. And then? Then it says “Thank you very much, now go home” ?? Then there are all the well-educated young people whose expectations were huge, standing on the street.

GR:
Well that can happen. That would be a failure then. However, experience shows that these measures are much more successful than you now suspect. Returning to Sweden: it has been shown that almost 50 percent of the young people who have taken part in a further training measure later also find self-financing jobs.

Euronews:
What do you mean, “self-financing jobs”?

GR:
Self-sustaining jobs. When the training ended, they were taken on in a permanent position that paid off economically. So unsubsidized new jobs were created in the companies.
I have just come from a meeting of the EU Development Conference, where these ideas were received very positively and with great interest.
I think that is going in the right direction because politicians understand that we have to move away from this high level of youth unemployment. Politicians understand that this cannot go on.

Euronews:
These may be small steps in the right direction. But that's not yet optimal. There is already talk of the “lost generation”, I would even like to speak of the “lost generations” in the plural. When a generation is lost, the next one moves with it. So I want to address the timing aspect: European governments offer a small number of people, very limited ones
Further training opportunities, and thereby a whole generation should be healthy ?? There are simply not enough offers and so we have to speak of “lost generations”.

GR:
I think the picture of the “lost generation” is correct. All experience shows that it is almost impossible for school leavers to find a job if they have not managed to gain a foothold in the labor market for more than a year.
And if so, then only under very difficult conditions. So that affects a person's life for decades. Therefore one can really speak of a “lost generation”.
So, with regard to youth work programs, I think they need to be open to ALL young school leavers. But THAT is not enough, you are absolutely right. It is not enough to provide funding here and there and then wait to see if anything fundamental changes.
We need an all-encompassing policy here. Even more: we need an economic environment that allows growth again, that creates jobs on its own. What we see today is that this hardly works under the current conditions, where we just keep cutting, cutting, cutting! We have to create an attractive environment and we don't have that today.

Euronews:
Reaching that ideal state, well, it will take time, how do you see the future?

GR:
Sure it will take time! To get where we need to go to reduce unemployment in Europe. But even if it could take a long time, we shouldn't hesitate to start right away. The Chinese say: a long journey begins with the first step. We have to take this first step now!
The Conference on More Employment, which I have just come from, really delivered a strong message, right at the top of the EU's political leadership: the politicians understand both the drama of the situation and that they must act immediately. So there is no time to lose, even if positive results may be a long time coming.

Euronews: Guy Ryder, thank you very much.