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Tánaiste agrees joint action on youth unemployment with OECD

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., has today reached agreement with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on developing an action plan to tackle youth unemployment in Ireland.

Following a meeting with the Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurria, the Tánaiste said the Irish Government would begin work with the Organisation on an Ireland-specific plan to get more young people working.

Speaking at OECD headquarters in Paris, the Tánaiste said:

"The OECD has extensive experience in dealing with the challenges we're facing in Ireland. They're the experts, and it is good news that they have agreed to work with us on tackling youth unemployment."

"I have instructed our Ambassador to the OECD to begin work on this immediately, and we will review the situation when Secretary General Gurria visits Ireland in September."

Today's announcement comes as the EU moves closer to agreeing its €960 billion seven-year budget, €6 billion of which has been earmarked for youth employment initiatives.

The Tánaiste, who has been leading negotiations for the European Council as it seeks to secure agreement on a final deal with the European Parliament and Commission, said he will now look to make sure that the EUR 6 billion is front loaded in the first two years of the multi-annual budget, which is due to run from 2014 to 2020.

"It is crucial that we put this money to work early in 2014 and 2015. This is, without doubt, the most serious problem facing most EU Member States today. More than one in five young Europeans is out of work. We must move quickly to get that number down," the Tánaiste said.

Youth unemployment is running above 25% in Ireland, at 50% in Spain and recently hit a high of 64% in Greece. 

The Tánaiste was in Paris for a meeting of government ministers from OECD member countries where he delivered a keynote address on the theme of 'Jobs, Trust and Equality'.

While at the OECD, the Tánaiste also completed Ireland’s ratification of an important treaty on tax cooperation.

The Joint Council of Europe/OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters will further enhance cooperation between Irish and other national tax authorities by facilitating the collection of taxes between jurisdictions.

The Convention, which is open to signature by all countries, has provisions so that bank secrecy and domestic tax requirements will not prevent information exchange.

The OECD's annual Ministerial Council meeting provides an opportunity for ministers to discuss policies and share experiences on the challenges facing OECD member countries. Today's meeting was focused on concrete solutions aimed at restoring sustainable growth and employment.

The OECD works with governments to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.