European Commission Executes Action Plan to Deal With Youth Unemployment

February 15, 2012 Updated: February 22, 2012

DUBLIN – Youth unemployment across the eurozone is reaching critical levels in some Member States.

The European Union (EU) has stated that “this can have long term consequences with young Europeans becoming alienated from the world of work.”

With this in mind the commission has decided to launch a join Action teams in the Member States with the highest youth unemployment to deliver quick results on the ground.

This is why European leaders at a meeting in Brussels on January 30th, 2012 (informal European Council), agreed to a strong drive to combat youth unemployment delivering quickly on two concrete objectives. 

First, we must do everything to help young people get in to work, education or training. Second, to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – creators of 80 per cent of jobs in Europe – get affordable access to financing. Restrictions on usual sources of financing and the cost of borrowing are inhibiting SMEs from filling orders or taking on new contracts and this has a dampening effect on the economy and on employment. 

Greece(46.6 per cent) and Spain(49.6 per cent) are clearly the worst countries for youth unemployment with Portugal (35.1 per cent) the next nearest country.

The European Commission says that their experts are “ready to go on the ground and work with the specific situation and needs of each country. Available EU funding and expertise will be used as a catalyst to boost national efforts to tackle youth unemployment and SME funding problems.”

Most common causes of high unemployment

It is impossible to generalise, says the EU, however they believe that in Greece, Ireland and Portugal the causes are most certainly linked to economic and financial crisis, “often exacerbated by existing structural difficulties”. In former eastern block states such as Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia the skills mismatch between the labour market demand and supply is one of the main causes. Hence, short term solutions will need to reflect those different situations.