Youth unemployment in the EU: a scarred generation? - European Union Committee Contents


EU action to tackle youth unemployment

The Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Sub-Committee of the House of Lords European Union Committee, chaired by Baroness O'Cathain, is conducting an inquiry into the EU's action to tackle youth unemployment. Written evidence is sought by 7 October 2013. Public hearings will be held in November and December 2013, and in January 2014.


The economic crisis has had a devastating effect on youth employment in the EU. According to Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, overall unemployment in the EU in June 2013 stood at 10.9 per cent. However, the youth unemployment rate (people under 25) in the EU-27 was 23.2 per cent. The lowest rates of youth unemployment were observed in Germany (7.5 per cent), Austria (9.3 per cent), the Netherlands (11.0 per cent) and Malta (11.2 per cent), and the highest were in Greece (58.7 per cent in April 2013) and Spain (56.1 per cent).[305] Eurostat listed the UK youth unemployment rate at 20.7 per cent in April 2013.

In February 2013, the EU pledged to spend six billion euro on its Youth Employment Initiative in the period 2014-2020 to help tackle youth unemployment. At a summit in Berlin in July, EU leaders agreed to concentrate national and EU resources to achieve progress more quickly, and thus pledged an additional two billion euro to support youth employment, particularly in countries with a youth unemployment rate above 25 per cent. Six billion of a total eight billion euro is due to be spent in the period 2014-16.

Many different organisations and stakeholders are already addressing this important issue: for example, Member State governments and the EU have promoted apprenticeships and vocational training as a means of combating youth unemployment. The Committee therefore seeks to focus its inquiry on some key points, namely how EU funds can bring 'added value' to existing measures, the efficiency of the disbursement process and the monitoring and evaluation of funded projects, and the representation of young people in the decisions being made to tackle youth unemployment.

The Committee is particularly interested in contributions from individuals and organisations working to combat youth unemployment and social exclusion in Europe; from employers in all sectors of the economy; from stakeholders in education and training; and youth organisations themselves. Respondents need only reply to those questions which they consider relevant to them, and are welcome to address matters which are relevant to the inquiry but are not covered by these questions.


(1)  Do you think that the EU should be providing funding to Member States to tackle youth unemployment? Does EU action respect Member States' powers in the area of social and employment affairs?

(2)  How do you think that the EU can best 'add value' to Member States' efforts to tackle unemployment?

(3)  Is there sufficient disaggregation in EU measures to tackle youth unemployment between, for example, support for young people classified as being not in education, employment or training ('NEETs'), support for newly qualified graduates looking for work, and general career guidance?

(4)  Are the EU's accounting, monitoring and evaluation procedures sufficient to be able to determine whether EU funded projects to tackle youth unemployment have been successful or not? Are there ways in which they could be improved?

(5)  How do you think the funds allocated through the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the European Social Fund (ESF) could best be spent?

(6)  Do you feel that young people (aged 15-24), youth groups and their representatives are involved and consulted to a satisfactory degree in the decisions being made around EU funding for youth unemployment projects, and how they are administered?

(7)  Should the EU and Member States take into account the positive and negative socio-economic impacts of youth migration due to unemployment when designing measures to tackle youth unemployment? How might any negative consequences be mitigated?

(8)  How can the EU and Member States embrace new technologies and new methods of working to combat youth unemployment?

305   Eurostat, 'euroindicators' June 3013, available at:  Back

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