In May 2014, 5.2 million of young people in the EU were unemployed. Against this background, the plenum of the EU Parliament initiated a discussion with representatives of the Council of Ministers and the Commission on the Youth Guarantee and its implementation in the individual Member States. Looking at the figures it becomes apparent that the situation, for example in Greece, Spain and Croatia remains changed. One out of two young people is still without a job. Overall, youth unemployment in the EU has stagnated at about 23 Percent.
Youth Guarantee is a structural reform to reduce youth unemployment, which makes sense
Due to the high rate of youth unemployment, EU institutions have initiated a wide range of measures. The Youth Guarantee, which was adopted by the European Parliament in January 2013, aims at guaranteeing young people under 26 within four months after leaving formal education a job offer, a traineeship or further education. Following the initial teething problems, the Member States have presented the EU Commission with 18 pilot projects to implement the Youth Guarantee. Austria too, has submitted an action plan aimed at implementing the Youth Guarantee; however, she is not in a position to draw funds from the EU for this purpose as youth unemployment in Austria does not exceed 25 % - a decisive criterion for possible subsidies from the funds of the Youth Guarantee. Ulrike Treberius, MEP, who criticised this, regards this as a problem with regard to allocating funds within the EU. A better solution would be to introduce a second step at EU level, which would also entitle countries to receiving EU funds in relation to the Youth Guarantee, where youth unemployment has not reached a level of over 25 %. Evelyn Regner, member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) in the EU Parliament, went even further and demanded that sustainable investments, for example in employment, training and further education or Research & Development will be exempt from the deficit criteria.

Rate of employment of 75 % of the 20 to 64-year olds by 2020 will remain an illusion without investments

In 2010, agreement had been reached in the EU to achieve an employment rate of 75 % of the 20 to 64-year olds by 2020. The discussion this week in the EU Parliament has once again revealed that one is still a long way off this target and that further measures are required - both at national and at EU level. The EU Youth Guarantee can be nothing more than a building block aimed at getting unemployment in the EU under control.

Further information:

Commission website in relation to EU Youth Guarantee