Youth employment: Together we can make a change

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.


The young need to be able to dream, to make plans and to be active citizens, to envision a successful career in the profession of their choice. Marianne Thyssen argues that the European Commission is helping them do just this.

Marianne Thyssen is the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

The crisis has given many young people in Europe doubts about their future opportunities to put their talents and ideas to best use. And not entirely without reason: although the overall unemployment rate has been declining for the past three years, youth unemployment within the EU is still unacceptably high. There are also very large disparities between member states and their regions.

Little more than a year ago, I decided to give an immediate financial boost of €1 billion from EU funds to the Youth Guarantee, a scheme aimed at providing young people up to the age of 25 with a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed. This way, I want to encourage and help member states to implement the Youth Guarantee as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But our efforts should and will not stop here. Soon I will present a new initiative: the New Skills Agenda for Europe. With this Agenda, I want people to have the tools and opportunities they need to develop their skills and succeed in the labour market of today and tomorrow. Improving skills, making skills and qualifications more visible and better-used, and anticipating which skills will be needed and where – because it is clear there are no one-size-fits all solutions and Europe needs a diversity of skills.

I have confidence in our youth and I believe that together we will make a change. As Commissioner for Employment, I am determined to fight for a society where all young people can find their way into a quality job, develop their careers, and realise their professional dreams and goals. I am looking forward to debating these key issues with young people from around Europe at the YO!Fest and European Youth Event in Strasbourg this week. Let’s put all the odds on the side of our youth – today’s young people are our best bet for tomorrow.

The European Youth Forum will launch, at its YO!Fest, an integral part of the European Youth Event, taking place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 20-21 May 2016, a ground-breaking study on the social inclusion of young people. EURACTIV is a Media Partner of this event.

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