Stanishev, Ninova, Iotova push forward the European Youth Plan in Bulgaria
‘The Party of European Socialists’ European Youth Plan was elaborated in cooperation with the S&D Group in the European Parliament and all PES member parties. We are committed to making it a reality’, said S&D MEP and PES President Sergei Stanishev. He spoke at the #Act4Youth campaign launch event today in Sofia, Bulgaria, together with BSP Chair Kornelia Ninovaand the party’s runner for Vice-President for the upcoming presidential elections in the country, Socialist MEP Iliana Iotova.
Stanishev recalled the success of the Youth Guarantee initiative, which managed to secure EUR 6Bn in EU funding for youth employment measures in Europe during the last EP term.
The first pillar in our Youth Plan – employment, received the largest support from young people attending the event. ‘Our ambition is to secure additional funding for the Youth Guarantee, up to EUR 20 bln until year 2020’, Stanishev said.
On the second pillar, education, Stanishev added: ‘Any prospect for the future of our youth is based on decent education. This is why we call for the Erasmus+ programme to be extended to secondary school students’.
Commenting on the third pillar, child protection, Stanishev pointed out that still in the EU one in every 4 children faces poverty risk. ‘It is outrageous to me that there are children who go to bed hungry, who cannot afford to go to school or cannot afford quality healthcare. We would like to see a dedicated European fund to channel the necessary financing to all countries’, Stanishev explained.
‘We would also like to see a European cultural cheque – a fixed sum voucher for every young European above 18, giving him or her access to cultural experience, be it a book, cinema, theatre, exhibitions or else, to support young people’s personal development.’ Stanishev pointed out that this is already being implemented in Italy, where socialist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi introduced a 500 EUR cultural cheque.
On the funding necessary for the European Youth Plan, Stanishev was clear that it was a matter of political will and prioritising: ‘A review of the current MFF is due next year, this is the perfect opportunity which we should seize to make this happen. It will require the joint efforts of our political family – PES, the S&D Group, our Prime Ministers and sister parties’.
‘I count on BSP to promote these four pillars and see them embedded in the national budget’, Stanishev added.
BSP Chair Kornelia Ninova supported the PES initiative:
‘A lot has been said on Youth, but it is time for actions now. From the four pillars, education and jobs are an overarching priority to me’, she said. In her view, the economy is fundamental for the nation, but the economy now lacks adequate workforce. ‘Young people were clear that in order to stay in their home country, they would like to have good education, a healthy way of life and a decent job. They are ready to be an active part of our society, and we, as politicians, must provide the opportunity for that to happen’.
Iliana Iotova: ‘A different youth policy is needed if we want the young people to be well-educated and self-confident’
‘Education is the key pillar for me in this initiative. In Bulgaria, over the past 2 years only, more than 800 schools have been closed. This is a symptom of serious sickness for our society. There are less and less young people in schools, and they are forced to walk sometimes for miles to reach school. The State is not doing its job here’, Iotova said. She was adamant that a different youth policy was need to bring about well-educated and self-confident youth.