Are measures to help reduce youth unemployment working? MEPs will assess the progress of two key programmes - the European Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative - with the Council and the Commission on Wednesday 17 September. This evaluation is sorely needed considering as many as 5.2 million young people were out of work in the EU in May. Check out the graph to see how unemployment evolved in the UK, Ireland and the EU over the last 15 years.

The job market for young people in Greece, Spain or Croatia did not change much in recent months. One in two young people in these countries is still unemployed and the situation for Europe as a whole does not look much better. In the EU the unemployment rate for young people is stagnating at about 23%.

How the EU is trying to help young people

The EU created two programmes to support young people. The Youth Guarantee scheme, approved by the Parliament in January 2013, seeks to ensure that people up to 25 years old receive an offer of continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education. In total 18 pilot projects to ensure a smooth transition from school to a job have been presented in Brussels.

The second programme is the Youth Employment Initiative, which especially aims to support regions with youth unemployment rates above 25% and young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). Programmes for France and Italy have already been adopted by the Commission, while Poland, Portugal and the UK have formally submitted their programmes.