The European Union's Socialists agreed to push for more incentives to battle youth unemployment across Europe and revitalise the bloc's industry during a party council in Sofia on Saturday.
"Our job is to create jobs for the people and especially for the younger generation... This is our big fight and this will be the fight in the coming months concerning the European budget," the leader of the Socialists and Social Democrats group in the European parliament, Hannes Swoboda, said.
"We cannot accept a budget which is not delivering on the most important issue which is youth unemployment," he added.
Ahead of next week's summit of EU leaders, the Party of European Socialists (PES) agreed to push for more than the earmarked 6.0 billion euros ($8.0 billion) for the so-called youth guarantee scheme -- offering jobs and quality apprenticeships for new graduates -- over the next seven-year budget period.
"The real European crisis is youth unemployment," PES warned, citing Eurostat data showing that over 26 million people in the bloc were unemployed, including 5.6 million under the age of 25.
In a separate resolution also adopted Saturday, PES called on EU institutions and member states to "support the revitalisation of Europe's industry, with the aim to create new and decent jobs, to support sustainable growth and to improve working conditions for all Europeans."
They highlighted the need for an active European industrial policy aiming to boost competitiveness through education and training, increased investment in research and innovations, improved company access to capital, better infrastructure and long-term planning.
PES also geared up for the European elections next spring by adopting in Sofia their overall programme ahead of the vote and preparing to launch the process of picking their candidate for next European Commission president.
"There is a strong willingness that Martin Schulz should be the candidate but of course other candidates can come forward in the competition," Swoboda said Saturday, referring to the current European Parliament president.