PARIS (AP) — European youths still face rising joblessness at a rate far higher than their American counterparts — but European leaders insisted Tuesday that scenario is going to improve over the next two years.
Leaders from 24 European nations as well as labor ministers and European Union officials met Tuesday in Paris to talk about youth unemployment. They announced no new programs but many expressed confidence that plans now in place will reverse the rising joblessness for the under-25 set over the next two years.
With budgets still tight, Europe's youth unemployment rate stands at 23.5 percent, up from 23.1 percent a year ago. In the U.S., the rate is about 16 percent.
Europe has pledged 45 billion euros ($60 billion) between 2013 and 2015 to fight youth unemployment.
French President Francois Hollande said the meeting had set a strategy to ensure that by 2015, no youth will spend more than four months unemployed without being offered a job, an apprenticeship, training or education.
"We must act quickly because it is urgent, we cannot abandon a generation," Hollande said at a news conference.