Taoiseach Enda Kenny meeting EU leaders in Paris for discussions on high youth unemployment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the EU leaders who will attend a special conference in Paris later today focused on tackling the very high levels of youth unemployment.

According to the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat, more than 5.5 million people under the age of 25 were unemployed in the 28-member European Union in September.

The highest rate was in Greece where a massive 57% of young people do not have a job, while in Ireland the rate is 28%.

Meanwhile, EU Finance Ministers and the European Parliament reached agreement overnight on a compromise budget for 2014 following a marathon negotiating session in Brussels.

The negotiations proved to be very difficult due a wrangle over a €400m budget line for flood damage.

Ministers want the European Commission to find the cash by making cutbacks in existing resources.

However, MEPs are adamant that the EU budget cannot be cutback and have demanded that Ministers provide new money to make-up the shortfall.

The compromise involved the payment of some additional funds across a number of years, but not the full amount which was originally envisioned.

Minister of State for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes represented the Government at the talks.

Mr Hayes said afterwards that the deal was “a pragmatic one that responds to the needs of a Europe emerging from a painful period of contraction. Spending at EU level has to reflect this present reality.”

While the agreement will be welcomed, observers believe the arrangement means it is possible there will be future wrangles over the budget in the coming years.