The European Council met in Brussels. The main themes of the meeting were youth unemployment and the financing of the economy.
"The serious youth unemployment situation in Europe requires rapid measures both at national and EU levels. Member States need to implement the country-specific recommendations relating to structural changes. We also need to improve companies' operating conditions and their access to financing. Together with the Prime Ministers of Denmark and Sweden, I brought this issue to the fore this week in a joint letter sent to President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy", Prime Minister Katainen said in Helsinki.
Prime Minister of Finland, Jyrki Katainen, praises joint European efforts to tackle youth unemployment but underscores the crucial role of national economic reforms and incentives to boost private sector hiring.
"Fighting youth unemployment must be sped up and requires action at local, national and European levels. While launching joint European actions such as the Youth Employment Initiative, it is absolutely essential to strengthen our economic competitiveness – otherwise we end up building on sand", PM Katainen said ahead of the June European Council.
"Smart and timely European interventions can make a difference to many young people, but they are no substitute to national efforts to make our economies fit for global competition. With almost six million Europeans under the age of 25 currently unemployed, political leaders cannot shy away from sometimes unpopular structural reforms of labour markets, tax codes and education systems."
"We must find ways to unleash the potential of European business -- SMEs in particular -- to grow and hire more people. Today, even strong SMEs struggle to get financing for their growth investments. To remove that bottleneck, we must swiftly finalise the banking union and explore innovative funding schemes, such as securitized loans for SMEs. The decisions taken by the ECOFIN Council yesterday are therefore a vital and welcome step forward."