INTERVIEW WITH PHILIPPE DE BUCK, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF BUSINESSEUROPE : SUMMIT DECLARATIONS NEED TO BE TRANSLATED INTO CONCRETE ACTIONS.

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BusinessEurope, the European federation of private employers, welcomes the commitments adopted by the EU at the European Council of 30 January. Notwithstanding, Philippe de Buck, BusinessEurope's director-general, has some recommendations to make: these commitments must be translated into concrete actions to support the creation of youth employment. Furthermore, they must not be compromised by draft legislative provisions that would jeopardise the survival of enterprises. He also discusses the Commission's plans with regard to the posting of workers.

Has the informal meeting of the heads of state and government, on 30 January, addressed the expectations of private employers?

There were two different sets of issues on the agenda of this summit: on the one hand, the intergovernmental treaty, and on the other, growth and employment. The EU has recorded progress on the former, even if it must continue to work and to close this dossier as quickly as possible. Regarding the latter - which came as a bit of a surprise in all honesty - the declaration of the heads of state and government takes the direction we were calling for. But these are declarations of intention and we wish them to be translated into concrete acts of support for the creation of youth employment.

Do you see the golden rule' imposed by the budgetary treaty as a threat, given that it risks reducing public investments?

We have no issue with the golden rule, as in reality it already exists: all the countries that are faring better on the macroeconomic level also see better results. The problem is not the golden rule but its application. And in some countries that have accumulated deficits, such as Italy or Greece, it is going to take a while. That is where the nuance lies: it must be applied judiciously, all the while ensuring that there is an incentive for growth and that development is not being hindered.

What is the role of the working group on youth employment established by BusinessEurope in late 2011?

Youth employment is a priority across the board, including for employers (if only to ensure the future of industry). A youth unemployment rate of 20% is simply not acceptable. That is why BusinessEurope has established a working group, which met for the first time in January this year. Its objective is to propose concrete recommendations in the fields of work-study programmes and training at the tripartite social summit, on 1 March. There will be recommendations on the European...

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