Saving Europe’s 'Lost Generation' – European Policy Summit

Mer, 15/05/2013
Mer, 15/05/2013

15 May 2013, Brussels, Belgium

The many problems facing young people today are leading to their increased disengagement from education and work, at great cost to Europe in financial terms and in human capital. European policymakers recognise the urgent need to invest in young people in light of the high youth unemployment rate (around 23.5%), the ageing population and many unfilled jobs.

On 15 May, Eurofound joined forces with Friends of Europe, in association with the Irish EU Presidency, at a skills and education conference on Saving Europe’s ‘lost generation' - European Policy Summit’. The event brought together senior stakeholders to discuss the future of Europe’s employment and education policies, discussing also how to encourage entrepreneurship among young Europeans and get them back into jobs.

Sessions addressed:

  • the skills mismatch
  • education systems and possible gaps
  • how entrepreneurship should be encouraged
  • what role for all stakeholders
  • what an EU-wide jobs strategy should look like.

Speakers included Ruairí Quinn, Ireland's Minister for Education and Skills, and Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism & Youth.

The NEETs issue

Setting the scene for Eurofound was Massimiliano Mascherini who participated in the session on skills shortages and highlighted that investment in young people is a long-term investment and that the role of youth work is central to this. His presentation on youth engagement (2.75 MB PDF) based on the report NEETs - Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe.

The report finds that the 7.5 million young people aged 15–24 who are NEETs face major challenges in entering the labour market due to lack of work experience and mismatch between their skills and what employers require. It argues that young Europeans should be set on a long-term pathway, in good-quality, stable and sustainable employment, but first they will have to be equipped with qualifications needed for successful labour market integration.

Read Eurofound’s infographic on young people and NEETs for further information.

Outcome of debate

Participants at the 15 May event argued that:

  • there is a need to change the attitude that vocational training does not create high-skilled individuals
  • failure when starting a company can also be a positive learning experience
  • a good social support system is vital to allow for competitiveness and risk-taking by entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, the European Commission announced its plan to launch an EU-wide apprenticeship programme in July to help address youth unemployment. 

Read the report from the Saving Europe’s ‘lost generation' - European Policy Summit’ (3.9 KB PDF)

Follow up on the live debate and see videos from the event at

Source: Friends of Europe Source: Friends of Europe
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