More young people became unemployed in the wake of the economic crisis. Find out the EU measures to help them and the improvements proposed by Parliament.

Young people were amongst the hardest hit by the economic and financial crisis. The unemployment rate of people aged 15-24 years in the EU increased from 15% in 2008 to 24% in early 2013, with peaks in Greece (60%), Spain (56.2%), Croatia (49.8%), Italy (44.1%) and Portugal (40.7%).


Initiatives to help the young


To tackle youth unemployment, EU countries agreed in 2013 to launch the Youth Guarantee, an EU initiative to give everyone under 25 a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education”


The Youth Employment Initiative is the main EU tool to help finance measures and programmes, put in place by EU countries to carry out Youth Guarantee schemes, such as training and assistance for the young to find their first job, along with incentives for employers. The initiative targets regions in the EU that have a youth unemployment rate above 25%. This applies to more than 120 regions in 20 EU countries, including Ireland and the UK.


Both the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment focus on young people not in employment, education or training, which includes the long-term unmployed and those not registered as job-seekers.


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships platform was also luanched to support the Youth Guarantee and improve the quality of apprenticeships in Europe.




According to the European Commission, 16 million young people have entered Youth Guarantee schemes since January 2014, while the Youth Employment Unitiative has provided direct support to more than 1.6 million young people.


Meanwhile the unemployment rate for young people has improved: by October 2107 it had dropped to 16.5%. However, challenges remain and there are significant diferences between EU countries. The member states with the highest rates are Greece (40.2%) , Spain (38.2%) and Italy (34.7%). The lowest rates were recorded in Germany (6.6%) and the Czech Republic (7.2%).


Parliament proposals


A Parliament report adopted by the employment committee on Monday 4 December calls for further improvements of the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative and better monitoring to assess the results properly.


Report author Romana Tomc, a Slovenian member of the EPP group, said: “It is now crucial that member states also play their role with efficient measures at the national level.”


The Parliament has also secured an additional €116.7 million for the Youth Employment Initiative in 2018.


Education and employment also feature high on the agenda of the upcoming European Youth Event (EYE) in June 2018 where thousands of young citizens from across Europe will come together to the Parliament to share their views on the future of the EU.