More than half young Greeks are unemployed
Greek youth unemployment figures released on Thursday (9 August) by the Hellenic Statistic Authority marked another record high at 54.9 percent in May compared to around 41 percent to the same period last year.
“It is indeed a matter of deep concern for the commission and the unprecedented level of unemployment in Greece, in particular for youth unemployment,” European Commission spokesperson Olivier Bailly told reporters in Brussels.
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Bailly said the ‘troika' - the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - along with the Greek authorities will need to address the rising unemployment issue among its youth.
A troika fact-finding mission in Greece ended last Sunday with another mission scheduled for early September. Dow Jones on Wednesday quoted unnamed officials saying it may be delayed until October.
“Boosting growth and job creation is fundamental to Greek society and we are concerned that the most vulnerable in Greece are the most hit by the current crisis," said Bailly.
In Athens, the 27-year old president of the Hellenic National Youth Council Armodios Drikos, a non-profit youth association, told this website that the Greek government has failed to implement a strategy that puts youth at the top of its policy initiatives.
“Unemployment among the youth in Greece is extremely high due to two reasons. First, the Greek government has failed to initiate EU programmes and use the EU funds. Second, the Greek government has sidelined the youth in their policy,” he said.
Drikos, who also works as a doctor at a hospital in Athens, says Greece has a lost an entire generation. “A lot of my colleagues have left for places like Germany, Belgium and Switzerland,” he said.
The European Youth Forum (YFJ), a platform of youth organisation in Europe, claims up to a €100 billion annually is lost by not investing in young people.
“Taking into consideration the overall economic and political impact of lower rates of active citizenship, early school leaving, and poor access to social services, the cost of the social exclusion of young people could soon become insurmountable,” says their website.
The platform claims the current EU budget dedicates 0.1 percent to funding youth programmes.
“The money dedicated to the Youth in Action programme for the overall cycle of seven years is less than the amount spent by the EU on subsidising the wine sector in the single year of 2011," noted the YFJ.