24th Mar 2018

EU faces 'lost generation' of almost 8 million young people

  • Spanish 'indignados' hold meeting in park (Photo: M. Martin Vicente)

The European Commission has indicated it is going to delve further into the employment, social and education policies of member states as it seeks to tackle the job crisis in the EU.

"We need to aim for an integrated EU policy approach and better coordination of employment and social policy at national and EU level," said commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at an employment conference in Brussels on Thursday (6 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Not only employment and social policy, but also education policy," he continued, looking ahead to the next European Semester, the EU's recently-established yearly cycle of economic policy co-ordination.

The continued eurozone crisis, now in its third year, has seen the commission make recommendations in policy areas that, pre-crisis, were considered an absolute taboo.

Now it tells member states where to make changes to wage, employment and social policies.

"We have seen during this crisis that some countries have been performing better also because of the capacities of their education systems to respond to the demand for jobs and training," said Barroso, indicating that this is also going to come under commission scrutiny.

Barroso's words came as the OECD, a Paris-based club representing the world's most developed countries, downwardly revised this year's growth estimates for almost all euro countries.

"The recession is taking hold in the euro area," said OECD secretary general Angel Gurria at the same conference.

He pointed out that for the EU to reach its 2020 goal of having 75 percent employment in the union, then 17 million jobs will have to be created.

The 'lost generation'

Gurria referred to a "potential lost generation" of 7.8 million young people who neither have a job nor are in education or training.

He added that policy-makers are facing a new phenomenon of "structural long-term unemployment" where people are unemployed for over two years. And the longer they are unemployed, the harder it is to get a job when one is available.

Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor called it a "jobs crisis."

But with debt-ridden member states slashing spending, politicians have been struggling to get to grips with the problem.

This is particularly so in bailed-out countries, which have been implementing harsh austerity measures in return for their borrowed money.

Greece, Ireland and Portugal have joblessness rates of 22.4 percent, 14.9 percent and 15.7 percent respectively. Spain - considering whether to ask for a bailout - has the highest eurozone rate at 25.1 percent.

Among the under-25s, the figures are much more extreme. In this age-group, more than one in five are unemployed in Ireland and Portugal, while 53 percent of young Spaniards and 55 percent of young Greeks do not have a job.

A very "innovative" and "stringent" public policy is needed to try and boost job levels, said Horst Reichenbach, in charge of overseeing Greece's reform programme, while Gurria pointed to the Danish policy of expanding and contracting government spending automatically to reflect ups and downs in the economic cycle.

Suggesting ways to raise money for investment, Ireland's enterprise minister Richard Bruton spoke of asset sales and "capitalising revenue streams" such as charging for water.

"Even in a fiscally constrained economy there are measures that can be taken, " said Bruton.

But he also suggested something that EU leaders have crucially not been able to manage since the onset of the crisis.

Boosting consumer spending and business investment would be much easier if there was an "environment of confidence" in the eurozone, he noted.

Brussels tests out youth jobs scheme

The European Commission has launched a €4 million pilot project to help 5,000 young people find jobs in other EU countries.

Youth unemployment risks 'social disaster'

The rise in youth unemployment in some member states could pose a “serious threat to social cohesion,” the European Commission warned Friday.

Red Cross to feed hungry Spanish people

The Spanish Red Cross has turned its focus away from war-ravaged conflict zones to help the destitute in Spain hard hit by troika imposed austerity measures.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs

European leaders postponed their reaction to US announcement that the EU would be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminium. "The devil is often in the details", said the Belgian PM.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections