European Young Leaders seminar: '40 under 40'
13-15 June 2013, Athens, Greece
Against a background of stresses facing young people throughout Europe, a group of 40 European young high achievers from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds got together in Athens on 13–15 June to discuss the most prominent of those stress factors and look for ways forward.
Objectives of '40 under 40'
Among its many challenges, the lack of a collective vision remains one of the main obstacles to an effective and sustainable Europe. The European Young Leaders ’40 under 40’ programme began in 2011 and is led by the think-tanks EuropaNova and Friends of Europe. It aims to promote a European identity by engaging 40 of the European Union’s brightest minds in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.
During this second seminar of the 2012–2013 programme, hosted by the Hellenic Parliament, the European Parliament Office in Athens and the Museum of the Acropolis, the topics for debate included:
- Europe’s economic crisis: What went wrong and why?
- Next democracy: Combating the rise of extremism
- Social quandaries: Curbing unemployment and poverty
- Building a new economic future for Greece
- Next leadership: Setting the new EU agenda.
The young leaders were asked to discuss these major problems and come up with innovative ideas for European renewal.
Joining the young leaders, European decision-makers and experts in the field was Eurofound Research Manager Massimiliano Mascherini, participating at the event on 14 June [12.00 - 13.30] during Session 3.
Feeding into the session on ‘New policies today for the youth of tomorrow’, Mr Mascherini presented Eurofound’s research on ‘young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs)’ and the impact of this phenomenon across Europe, particularly in Greece which has the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe at around 60% (EU average: 23.5%) and a population of NEETs that costs the economy around 2% of GDP a year.
He highlighted that now is the time to act and rethink youth policy approaches, talking about the Youth Guarantee, which will give young people under 25 a good-quality offer of work, training or education within four months of losing a job or leaving formal education. He also spoke about the Council of the European Union Recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee (736KB PDF), issued on 22 April 2013, which invites Member States to implement the Youth Guarantee as soon as possible using the €6 billion available to them.
Eurofound research on the experiences of youth guarantee schemes in Finland and Sweden shows that the concept of a youth guarantee is not new and has already been explored in the Nordic countries which are pioneers of this type of policy.