European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Youth unemployment - a problem that needs work

Young people standing outside a window, looking in. Source:
The EU has enacted several measures against youth unemployment - everything from legislation to conferences where the bureaucrats actually have to sit down and listen to young people.

One of the greatest challenges facing Europe today is that of having over 26 million people unemployed. In addition, the levels of unemployment are generally twice as high among young as among adults. Moreover, education programmes all too rarely prepare young people for the concrete needs of businesses, and many young people are actually giving up on looking for work. The EU is now arranging conferences at which young people and experts can meet in order to discuss this issue.

The EU’s target: Three-quarters in employment

Almost one in four of European youths are out of work. This is something that the EU wants to change, and the target today is for 75 % of all those aged between 20 and 64 to be in employment. In order to achieve this, the Union has identified several important goals:  more language training, more exchange programmes like Erasmus+, and a higher standard for internship programmes. It is also important to make it easier than it is today for young people both to study and work abroad.

Conferences with both experts and young people

What does a young person risk being met by when he or she is looking for a job? The EU has made sure not only to listen to bureaucrats regarding the issue of unemployment, but also to talk to those who are being hit particularly hard by the problem – the young jobseekers. In October 2013, a large meeting was organised in Paris, under the name ReAct; the first of five such meetings where people discussed ways of creating employment opportunities. The ReAct meetings will continue to be held in different European cities, with experts presenting their ideas within this area. In November of the same year, this was followed up by Agora, in Brussels, with young people from all over Europe being brought together for discussions of how to create and find work.


                                                                                                                                                                  Johanna Wester