According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in May 2010, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 19.9% in the euro area and 20.5% in the EU27. The lowest rate was observed in the Netherlands (8.1%), and the highest rates in Spain (40.5%), Estonia (39.8% in the first quarter of 2010) and Latvia (39.7% in the first quarter of 2010).
The youth unemployment rates are roughly twice as high as for the population as a whole, both in the European Union and in the individual countries.
Obviously, the financial and economic crises have taken their toll by barring recruitment, but in a Europe already facing the demographic challenges of an ageing population, something is seriously wrong with the markets for labour market entrants.
Europe 2020 strategy
The blog post Europe 2020 strategy: Flagship initiative Youth on the move looked at how the European Commission outlined its flagship initiative to improve employability and employment for young EU citizens through education and training, in the communication:
Europe 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 final
Commission Work Programme
In section 2 of the Commission’s Work Programme (CWP) for 2010, Tackling the crisis and sustaining Europe’s social market economy, the flagship initiative is briefly outlined (page 5):
“Youth on the move” (strategic initiative 12): This initiative will set out priorities to enhance the performance of education systems, to reinforce the attractiveness of Europe's higher education system and to open more mobility programmes to young people. The younger generation has been particularly hit by the crisis. A communication on “youth employment” (strategic initiative 13) will be a policy response to increase job opportunities for young people, promote apprenticeships and training, and improve transition from education into work.
Commission Work Programme 2010 - Time to act, Volume I; Brussels, 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final
In the CWP Annexes strategic initiative 12, the flagship initiative Youth on the move, is promised in the third quarter of 2010. The main components of this non-legislative initiative are sketched in the following manner in Annex I (page 3):
The Communication will set out a strategy to integrate EU and national mobility, university and researchers programmes, to modernise higher education, to promote entrepreneurship through mobility of young professionals, and to promote the recognition of informal learning. It will announce further initiatives, covering both policy and programme related elements, which will be brought forward in coming years. This framework will include a European entrepreneur exchange programme - "ERASMUS for young entrepreneurs".
With regard to strategic initiative 13, the non-legislative communication on Youth and Employment is promised in the fourth quarter of 2010 (page 3):
The Communication will look at ways of strengthening policy to overcome the impact of the crisis on young people. It will explore how to ease transitions from education and training work. The document will also address how to ensure a better link between policy priorities and EU funds, especially the European Social Fund. The Communication will announce a set of new initiatives including the promotion of youth geographical mobility (EURES), a mobilisation of the business sector to recruit youth, and announce increased direct support to innovative projects through PROGRESS, the Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes.
Commission Work Programme 2010 - Time to act, Volume II Annexes; Brussels, 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final
In this series of blog entries we will continue to look at how Europe is going to respond to the challenge of its dysfunctional jobs markets, especially with regard to young people, in the context of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move.