Extra €2 billion pledged for youth jobs

Tackling youth unemployment remains a hot topic on the European policy agenda and a number of recent events focused on best practices across Europe. They heard of substantial extra funding for the worst-affected countries, record levels of youth unemployment in some countries and the need for a diverse approach.

More funding to support youth employment

On 3 July, EU leaders met at a high-level Conference on Youth Employment in Berlin, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (see videos from the event). In attendance were labour ministers, heads of employment agencies and representatives of large companies based in the EU. The aim was to discuss best practices to help young people back into work.

The EU had already pledged €6 billion to tackle youth unemployment under the Youth Guarantee scheme. However, at the Berlin event, EU leaders agreed to concentrate national and EU resources to achieve progress more quickly, and thus pledged an extra €2 billion to support youth employment, particularly in countries with a youth unemployment rate above 25%.

Job creation and better outcomes for young people

Following the Berlin summit, Eurofound participated at other youth events. On 4–5 July, Research Manager Massimiliano Mascherini took part in the IZA/OECD Paris seminar 'Reforming European labour markets: Stimulating job creation and better outcomes for youth' where he presented an overview of the European Youth Guarantee and findings from Eurofound research on young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).

He drew attention to the EU youth unemployment rate, which reached 23.5% in March 2013, with about half of Member States recording their highest level during the crisis. Speaking about the Youth Guarantee, he emphasised that success in implementation is highly dependent on other public policies in place such as apprenticeships and traineeships, and on the capacity of public employment services to provide adhoc tailored support to young people.

Effective policies for reintegrating youth into labour market

Massimiliano Mascherini was in action again on 8 July in Brussels at the meeting of the Youth Working Party of the European Council, one of the first events under the Lithuanian Presidency, where he spoke about risk factors and effective policies for the reintegration of young people into the labour market. Drawing on Eurofound research on youth in Europe, he highlighted that effective policies are those that diversify approaches, take labour market readiness into account, are innovative, focus on clients and not providers, involve stakeholders and set young people on a long-term pathway. For instance, he argued that countries with well-developed apprenticeships and vocational education and training systems performed better in terms of the levels of youth unemployment.

On 12 July, Eurofound Research Officer Lidia Salvatore participated in the Seminar on Youth Employment and the Youth Guarantee in Dublin, organised by Irish MEP Emer Costello, focusing on how the Youth Guarantee should be implemented in Ireland. Presenting Eurofound findings, she spoke about the urgency of tackling youth disengagement from the labour market and society in terms of personal, social and economic costs. To fuel the discussion, she also presented findings on experiences of youth guarantee schemes in Finland and Sweden, their strengths and risk factors and results in terms of evaluation of these measures.

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