Fighting youth unemployment: an EU priority

Student protest
Student protest against the First Employment Contract bill (the CPE). Lyon, 2006. [Ernest Morales/Flickr]

Between 2007 and 2013, youth unemployment reached record highs across Europe, dramatically increasing from 15.7% to 23.4%, according to Eurostat. EU heads of state and government agreed in February 2013 to launch a €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) to get more young people into work. 

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During a summit in February 2013, EU leaders agreed to tackle the devastating unemployment rates among young people aged 18-25 in Europe by setting up the €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). Four months later, heads of state and government agreed to disburse another €2 billion to fight youth joblessness, with the bulk available over a two-year period, starting in 2014, and the rest over the full seven years of the next EU budget.

Greece, Spain and Italy will receive the biggest share of the YEI, €3.4 billion. Youth unemployment rates have reached critical levels in Spain (55.5%) and Greece (58.3%). Although the YEI will provide a general stimulus to the economy, it is mostly about giving a chance to young people to gain their first job experience.

A Youth Guarantee scheme, inspired by the national scheme in Finland, will be introduced by each EU country according to its individual need. It will apply to young people who are out of work for more than four months. It aims to give them a real chance to further their education, or get a job, apprenticeship or traineeship.

The proposals for implementation of the national schemes were supposed to be ready at the end of the year 2013, making the YEI fully operational by 1 January 2014. But by June 2014, only France had received an approval for its national scheme. The Commission will make funding available so that France can receive €620 million from the YEI and the European Social Fund (ESF).

This led the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say that youth unemployment is "clearly" one of the areas where the EU needs to act faster.

“I’m not pointing my finger at anyone, but nobody is able to understand why this is happening. Again, I'm not blaming the Commission, the member states, I'm just saying that the result is such that we need to change this,” the German Chancellor said.



an european's picture

€3.4 billion... Well!
How and for what exactly did spent Spain this money !
How was it controlled ?
How much money are still Left ? Do Banks have that money?

But even spending without to tackle the core of the economic issues (which are the lack of federal structures ) won't help!
This spending or the unemployment issues should be controlled under E.U. authority with a real Budget ! Aren't They?
I doubt !
I hope that this new J-C J commission will take adequate steps to tackle the necessity to drop yout unemployement !

evad666's picture

That is £3.9 billion sterling give or take, what controls were put in place on such vast expenditure or was it rather like the UK back to work schemes? The schemes which made a select few rich at the expense of the taxpayers and failed the unemployed? Schemes essentially engineered to hide the fact the chumocracy of the political elites got the money while potential and actual job creators who could create growth in the economy were neglected?

evad666's picture

Something the young need to ask themselves is how concerned is the EU really about your welfare when there is unrestricted access by foreigners.

humber123's picture

Just more words, hoping to pacify the EU countries. The only way to get out of the mess is leave the euro.