Education is one of Europe's best investments for overall growth in troubled economic times, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Dr. Christoph Leitl said Wednesday.
Although Europe's main concerns now are monetary, the structural problem of its labor force's education is also a challenge, Leitl said when addressing the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
If the region wants to remain competitive in a globalized world, he argued, Europe has to address the problem and ensure both the financial and social welfare of its young people.
"You cannot have stability if young people have no chance and no prospects. That's the core point," Leitl said, explaining how high youth unemployment in Europe had caused widespread resentment and protests.
"The main thing is education ... if you have the skills, you have the quality, and the quality is the basis for successful competition. Skills are the basis for innovation, and we need growth by innovation, not speculation," he said.
Leitl argued that though Europe and other parts of the globe are still suffering from economic difficulties, it was a valuable opportunity to learn from the lessons of high-risk speculation, and use them to future advantage.
The situation was also a highly motivating factor to enforce more regulation, as well as stressing the importance of fiscal discipline in the eurozone's 17 countries, he said.
Many believe Europe's current problems can primarily be attributed to a wide variety of economic policies and different austerity measures used among its countries, many of which, however, share a single currency.