World of Work: A European Perspective on Youth Unemployment

  • Paul Schmidt Austrian Society for European Politics, Rotenhausgasse 6/9, 1090 Vienna
  • Johanna Edthofer Austrian Society for European Politics, Rotenhausgasse 6/9, 1090 Vienna


The paper points out which key factors correlate with high and low levels of youth unemployment in Europe. It also focuses on national and European measures to combat youth unemployment and discusses their implementation process and effectiveness. Youth unemployment relates to the general macroeconomic situation. It is also influenced by structural factors of the labour market as well as by the quality of the educational and training systems. Although the EU only has limited competences in the area of youth and employment policy, European measures have been designed to assist EU Member States. Two of the most relevant EU-instruments are the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative. The implementation process has already started but obstacles with regard to the financing of the projects remain. Nevertheless, inaction would be much more costly. It is estimated that young people not in employment, education or training cost the EU 153 billion Euros (1.21% of EU-GDP) annually. The key elements to reduce youth unemployment are economic growth and job creation, a close connection between apprenticeship/education and the labour market as well as high spending on active labour market policies. Thus reformed apprenticeship systems, educational and vocational guidance and more dynamic public employment agencies could contribute to reduce youth unemployment rates in several EU Member States.
Research Article