Welcome speech by the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, at the Opening of the Proceedings of the European Conference on Youth Self-Employment, which is co-organized by the Regional Association of Municipalities of Attica (PEDA) and the European Local Inclusion & Social Action Network (ELISAN), titled “Youth Unemployment and Self-Employment”

Ladies and gentlemen,

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you for taking this initiative on the issue of youth unemployment at such a critical time.

A critical time characterized by extremely high rates of youth unemployment in Greece which are in actual fact a ticking bomb for the future of our society.

These high rates should make all of us, whether being elected representatives of local authorities or not, assume our responsibilities.

These unacceptably high rates, ladies and gentlemen, require immediate action on our part.

Each one of us should take action in their field of responsibility.

In this context, local authorities can and should play a crucial role.

An intervening, constructive and effective role.

We should put an emphasis on supporting youth entrepreneurship, innovation, start-ups, and all kinds of business initiatives aiming to create new jobs.

Recently, ladies and gentlemen, I had the opportunity to attend, in my capacity as Head of the Attica Region delegation, an important event. I am referring to the annual international DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival.

It was an interesting and useful experience for two reasons.

Firstly, we were able to see how wide and complex is the field of youth innovative entrepreneurship. A fertile field for exchanging experiences and best practices.

The second reason has to do with the realization that youth innovative entrepreneurship is a challenge that does not concern one, two or three countries, or some regions or certain municipalities only, but it concerns synergies as well, both horizontal and vertical, in the context of the unprecedented opportunities offered by new technologies for the future of our societies and the future of young people.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, innovative entrepreneurship is perhaps the most crucial challenge of our time.

Innovative entrepreneurship is of critical importance and elected representatives of local authorities have to respond positively and become involved in order to help win this challenge.

At this point, we must not overlook the characteristic that differentiates Local Government from central governments.

This difference has to do with the fact that local governments are closer to citizens, young people and young entrepreneurs than central governments. This proximity can change the current situation creating new conditions, new perspectives.

As long as these perspectives refer to job creation and growth generation, ‘self-employment’ type approaches should be excluded. Not because of some kind of ideological dogmatism reasons, but for efficiency reasons instead. It is difficult for self-employment to become a factor of real growth and job generation. On the contrary, it contributes to preserving situations in which no progress can be made.

Self-employment is the exact opposite of what is needed now.

Today, we need a specific thing: secure jobs and sustainable growth in a framework of stability and prosperity.

However, ladies and gentlemen, when trying to achieve this we are faced with chronic public sector issues, the weaknesses and shortcomings of the legislative framework, and the phenomena of bureaucracy and inefficiency.

It is precisely these weaknesses that Local Government has to deal with, in the context of an incomplete institutional framework and scarce resources.

Hence the urgency regarding the reform of Local Government, and the establishment of the scope and jurisdiction of the two degrees of Local Government, in order to contribute decisively to the recovery of the Greek economy.

The Region of Attica participates in this collective effort, in order to fight for the present and the future of our homeland.

I wish you every success with your conference.

Independent Office of International Affairs

Tel.: +30 213 2063 521, 529, 812, 668.
e-mail: oia@patt.gov.gr

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