By June 25, 2013 Read More →
Youth Unemployment in the European Union

Youth Unemployment in the European Union

Unemployment amongst youths (those aged 25 and under) in the EU-27 has grown from 15 percent in 2008 (its lowest point in the past decade) to 23.5 percent as of April 2013. In total, 15 million Europeans below the age of 30 are neither employed nor are they taking part in any form of training or continuing education. In the countries which have been hit hardest by the Eurocrisis, the statistics are truly shocking:  In Italy, 2.2 million (or one out of four) of those aged 30 and under do not have a job while in Greece, unemployment in the under-25 age bracket has topped 60 percent. The story in Spain and Portugal is similar, with under-25 unemployment rates at 56.4 and 42.5 percent respectively.

As Enrico Letta recently explained in the Financial Times, there is much which the EU can do to help young people who are seeking work:

…there also needs to be an EU dimension that concentrates on tools to help young people find a job or start training. We have to build on the work of the European Commission and the president of the European Council and make the youth guarantee scheme operational from next year to ensure that every person under 30 receives an offer of employment, training or a traineeship within four months of leaving education or employment.

We need also to be more flexible in the use of EU structural funds and to bring forward resources in 2014-15 to be immediately effective. The European Investment Bank has a key role to play in this. Its increased leverage should be used to foster youth entrepreneurship and job creation with funds earmarked for small businesses and an expansion of its venture and microfinance arms.

Europe can act as a multiplier and supporter of domestic reforms. A declaration of intent at this week’s summit will not be enough. Measures that speak to our youth and address their needs and aspirations will have to be taken. Otherwise, resentment may become the breeding ground for populist and extremist movements, with the risk of a backlash in May 2014 and the election of the most eurosceptic European parliament ever. At stake is not only the future of one generation, but the prospects of Europe itself.

Youth unemployment will be a major item on the agenda of the upcoming EU Summit, to be held in Brussels on the 27th and 28th of June. At a convention in Vienna last week, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced that “[u]rgent action is needed because there are unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment in Europe.” According to Mr Barroso, the EC will make six billion euros available in an attempt to remedy this worsening problem.

The EU member states with the lowest rates of youth unemployment as of Q4 2012 are Germany (7.9 percent), Austria (8.7 percent) and The Netherlands (9.8 percent).

Read More:

Enrico Letta – Europe must act to end the scourge of youth unemployment – Financial Times

EU conservatives want to focus on youth unemployment – EUbusiness

EU Summit – City of Brussels

Unemployment Statistics – Eurostat

(Wikimedia Commons image courtesy of Andres Rueda)

About the Author:

Sebastian Andrei is NABATAEANS’ editor for EU - Middle East Trade and Political Relations. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna, where he majored in journalism with minors in political science as well as business and economics. Sebastian is responsible for reporting on the European Union’s external trade relations. He also writes about economic development and investment opportunities in Europe as well as about policy changes which affect the EU common market.

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