Cabinet officials from Spain, Portugal and Latin America on Monday here in Madrid began a two-day meeting to discuss possible solutions to create "stable, decent and quality" jobs and strengthen social protection mechanisms.

The gathering, which was inaugurated by Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, is being held within the framework of the meetings prior to the Ibero-American Summit, which will take place Nov. 16-17 in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz.

Participants at the 8th Ibero-American Conference on Employment and Social Security will discuss issues such as entrepreneurship and jobs, the fight against the underground economy and youth employment.

Regarding youth employment, Prince Felipe warned about the loss of capacity and resources linked to the lack of work opportunities for young people and emphasized the "obligation" to create and foster the necessary conditions to be able to fully develop such opportunities.

"The forced labor inactivity of so many young people is a painful and unacceptable obstacle for the comprehensive development of each one of them as people, as well as a loss of capacity and resources that countries cannot allow themselves," he said.

He also noted that youth unemployment is a problem that is of special concern in Spain, where the jobless rate among people under 25 is more than 50 percent, and he emphasized the need to "awaken their capacity for initiative (and) inculcate within them the desire for innovation." EFE