EU initiative to fight youth unemployment

Published on by Alba Barrionuevo (author), Pontus Persson (author), Thibault Combe (author), María Gabriela Medina (author)

All around Europe, young people have problems finding a job. The numbers of youth without employment, education or training, known as NEET, in some European countries exceed 20 % of the population. Meanwhile, the differences between the EU countries are big and now a proposal that comes from the European Commission is trying to support the regions with the highest numbers of youth unemployment.

The European crisis is specially affecting the young. The youth unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain are above 50 % and people´s perception show that nothing is going to change any time soon. The European Union has created a plan called The Youth Employment initiative that is trying to lower these numbers especially where the rate is above 25%.

This initiative consists in guarantying good quality internships and education. Through the proposal Youth Guarantee the EU invites the states to start to provide concrete educational or work offers within 4 months for people leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.

This plan was getting little money but in February 2015 the European Commission proposed an advance on one billion Euros to accelerate the benefits of the initiative. If accepted these advance could help between 350 000 and 650 000 young people.

But young people do not put a lot of hope on a solution in the near future. We checked with some young people from around Europe, living in Barcelona.


When many countries in the southern parts of Europe are struggling with high numbers of youth unemployment, a couple of other northern or central countries have significantly better numbers. Especially if you look at the NEET statistics, which means "No employment, education or training."

Here are the numbers for the EU countries:

Youth unemployment

None employment, education or training in the European union.

Sweden, with its youth unemployment program, is one of these examples of lower numbers. Sara Ankarberg, qualified administrator at the Swedish unemployment office, describe the three keys of the work to decrease youth unemployment in the country.

- Special program for youth

"Today we have a program called “Job guarantee” for youths that includes different activities to help young people start a work or continue with their education. The program is offered after three months of unemployment. For youth that are judged to be a long way from the job market already during the registration, the activities in the program can be offered from day one. The program can offer a further education and internship. Besides that the youths are given support to apply for a work."

- Acknowledgement of the situation and cooperation

"The youth unemployment is decreasing but is still very high. We notice that a lot of youth are feeling very bad. They are more far from the labor market than before and are unemployed for longer periods. For these persons, other efforts are needed than the ones the unemployment office can offer. We are building a wider co-operation with the municipalities and  that will create a better platform to make sure no young people are forgotten."

- Encouragement and solutions

"The jobs that don’t demand higher education are still the most common among youths. But there is a huge competition for these jobs. Internship or some kind of education for the service sector might make it easier. Otherwise we try to encourage youth to seasonal work in Sweden or abroad to get experience. In addition to that, we also speak a lot about education with them."

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