10 May 2010 E-3294/10 WRITTEN QUESTION by Marietje Schaake (ALDE) to the Commission Subject: Youth unemployment in the EU More than 20 % of young people are unemployed in Europe, as was underlined by Mr Barroso on 20 April 2010. The labour market needs highly educated and skilled people, but the economic crisis has led to budget cuts in the education sector in Member States across the EU. While knowledge is Europe's most valuable asset, Member States are not meeting the necessary commitment to fostering an ambitious knowledge economy. On 25‑26 March, EU Heads of State did not agree on education targets to be included in the EU 2020 strategy. Europe needs the next generation's talent, research, creativity and innovation now more than ever. We learned in the process of the Lisbon Strategy that Member States said they were committed to investing in Europe´s knowledge economy and to fostering a smart continent. However, the commitments were not met. The Lisbon commitment of investing 3 % of GDP in R&D was met almost nowhere in the EU. In drafting an ambitious EU 2020 agenda, ambitions must be measured against what Member States do with them, not what they say they will do. During question hour, on 20 April 2010, Mr Barroso replied to concerned Members of the European Parliament that the European Commission has announced at least three initiatives to deal with youth unemployment: ‘youth on the move’, ‘youth employment’ and ‘new skills for new jobs’. Furthermore, the Commission will come up with proposals dealing with ‘early school leaving’, ‘a new impetus for vocational education’ and ‘learning mobility of young people’. In the communication from the Commission on Europe 2020 the Commission proposes target figures on investment in R&D, on reducing the percentage of early school leavers and on increasing the percentage of young people with a tertiary degree. What is the point of view of the Commission on the opinion of some Member States, which say that the EU should not set target figures in the area of education, by virtue of subsidiarity? How will the Commission make sure Member States invest in education, knowledge, creativity and innovation, if target figures are not decided upon? Which new instruments will the Commission make available to make sure Member States implement targets, once decided upon? How will the Commission avoid Member States not achieving targets set, as happened with the Lisbon Strategy? Will the Commission be more candid in its assessment of progress than in the past? Please find the answer here.