failyoungpeopleHow can we fight youth unemployment? Somehow, the politicians, economists and other ‘experts’ whose job it is to answer this question are never young people themselves. But what do young citizens – who are more than twice as likely to be jobless than older Europeans – think is the best solution to kick-start the economy and make sure more jobs are being filled by young workers?

Given that the majority of our readers fall into the age group 18-24 (with the 25-34 age bracket in second place), it’s likely that some of you reading this are asking the same question. In 2013, over 5.5 million people under 25 were unemployed (23.2%). The highest rates were found in Greece (52.9%), Spain (54.3%) and Croatia (49.2%). Meanwhile, Germany (7.4%) and Austria (8.9%) were the countries where youth unemployment rates were lowest.

What can the EU do to help? And what are the solutions put forward by the different parties? As part of our Road to the Elections debate series, we talked to the presidents of the youth wings of five European political parties: the  Centre-Right, the  Social Democrats, the  Liberal Democrats, the  Greens and the  Conservatives. To each of them we asked the same question: “What will your party do to create jobs for Europe’s younger generation?

Take a look at their answers below and let us know who you agree with. First, we spoke to Kostas Kyranakis, President and spokesperson of the Youth of the European People’s Party. He believes that millions of jobs can be created by simply focusing on three priorities: tax incentives for job creators, skills-based education and simpler registration of companies:

Moreover, he argues that the Youth Guarantee scheme is not working. First put forward by the Commission in 2009, the scheme aims to guarantee everybody under 25 a quality job, apprenticeship, traineeship, or continued education offer within four months of graduating. It received strong support from both the  Social Democrats and the  Greens. Five years after it was first proposed, however, does Kaisa Penny, President of the Young European Socialist, still support the initiative?

The third person we spoke to was Jeroen Diepemaat, President of the European Liberal Youth – the youth wing of the  Liberal Democrats. Whereas Kostas and Kaisa focus on what the EU and national governments should do to create jobs, the European Liberal Youth says creating jobs should be left to companies themselves. By giving companies free space to hire new people, Diepemaat argues that more opportunities will be given to people who want to enter the labour market for the first time.

Next, we spoke to Michael Bloss, co-spokesperson of the Federation for the Young European Greens. Like the  Social Democrats, the  Greens support the Youth Guarantee but believe that it has been implemented poorly. So far, much less has been invested than the 21 billion euros the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates will be needed to make the scheme a success. Moreover, Bloss argues that by focusing on developing specific sectors of the economy, the EU can create jobs whilst simultaneously putting Europe on a more environmentally sustainable path:

Finally, we spoke with Tim Dier, President of the Young European Conservatives. His approach was similar to the  Liberal Democrats’ view, in that Tim thinks that Europe should allow businesses the space to succeed and create a more flexible labour market. Moreover, he argued that free trade with the rest of the world will not only create jobs, but also help developing countries to trade their way out of poverty.

Which party do YOU think will be able to best fight youth unemployment? Do you believe that smaller governments, lower taxes and less red tape would help? Or do we need greater public investment to kick-start the economy? Has the European Youth Guarantee failed, or is it too early to say? Let us know your thoughts and VOTE for the party that you agree with in our Debating Europe Vote 2014!

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Popicinio

42 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Breogán Costa

    Europe is not failing us, EU maybe, and EU is fighting us. We are going to change things and delete corrupts, but politics and transnationals doesn’t like that, this is the reason because EU doesn’t like us.

  2. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    sop listening economist (wich is a dogma) and start listening scientist!… as Pepe Mujica said in ONU!.

  3. avatar
    Matthijs Pontier

    The pirate party is a young party with many young people. Among others by giving free patients we can increase innovation and stimulate the economy.
    By making politics AND companies fully transparent and more democratic, we can prevent corruption. Both these measures will create jobs for youths

  4. avatar
    Carlos Echaide Gorriz

    job for young people, and stop listening economist, as Jaume Roqueta said, start to find good solutions for the crisis. There must be a solution in somewhere…

  5. avatar
    Pierre Corens

    By investing in intern programs in collaboration with companies. Make it attractive for companies to hire interns (a form of subsidy). Take measurments to strengthen interactions and integration between students and coporate life. Ideal would be a large list with all intern programs which students are obliged to choose one from once a year. Also a restructuring of the technical programs is necesary.

  6. avatar

    Unless Europe create real long lasting jobs, I have no idea what the solutions for young generation might be. Double their parents wages/salaries maybe ?

  7. avatar
    João Raimundo

    Europe should be effectively solidarity – a union! We need to rid ourselves of neoliberal parties …

    • avatar
      Pedro Pereira

      I’m not sure what you are trying to make with your webpage. However, I very much appreciate classical music and it seems not so hard to help you out so if you need translation to portuguese I can help you. Cheers.

  8. avatar
    Mario Camilleri

    Europe is flatening out the most important institutions that give strenght to the economy of all nation members like the small private buisness or broadening the basis of taxation..thousands of small shops cannot cope anylonger ending up in bankruptsy..Europe will never survive for long if the wealth is not distributed well there is no room anymore for turn key projects .. there has to be a change in the system of privatisation …Stop putting up income tax .. look at italy now soon politicians will be faced with the most impossible task to get back their economy in place … higher tax is not the solution it will be the end of like an Empire…

  9. avatar
    nando aidos

    Europe is aging! Young Europeans do not have jobs! Taxes are eroding our retirements! Factories are outsourcing to countries outside Europe. Indistries are automating more and more people of all ages will continue losing their jobs to machines! Income is disappearing and people will not be able to buy what is made. This cycle only serves the purposes of the nonproductive super-rich!
    This vicious cycle has to stop!
    Promote small businesses, as mentioned above. Give people space to innovate, as mentioned above. Especially young people from all walks of life. Change our arbitrary definition of work and employment. Change our outdated concept of retirement. Stop our endless taxation and regulations spiral.
    There is plenty of room for young people to get things to function again. Just get the banks and the politicians out of the way. And be bold! Let us not try to fix our broken system! Let us invent a new one! This is only scary to the unproductive super-rich, and they only make 1% of the world’s population.

  10. avatar
    Peter Gromm

    EU have problem with demand. In my country wages is enough only for surviving.
    If you pay housing bills, buy food, you are on 0, or close to zero. For about 70% of employed people. No demand( no money) — no orders for company’s across EU.
    No orders, they don’t need employers…
    It looks similar situaltion before 1989 in soviet union. People have money, but shops are empty.
    Now- shops are full, but people don’t have money.
    Result is the same – recession.
    If you lower taxes, company’s only get higher profits.(giving more money for employers for what?If before door waits another 10 more people for job with same or lower wage…

  11. avatar
    Thomas Nemo

    Young people should be freed from the obligation to get an “education”, which in practice only serves to indebt. Not to mention the huge time-sink.

  12. avatar
    Thomas Nemo

    A public agency combining support for the setting up of small enterprises, combined with supplying (micro)credit. Banks by law obliged to facilitate. Corporations obliged to provide internships.

  13. avatar
    Thomas Nemo

    Subsidiarity should be maximized to allow for empowerment of the generation. A superstate with over 800 million registered voters that claims to be even vaguely democratic is too preposterous for words.

    How stupid do those people think my generation is, exactly?

  14. avatar
    Pedro Redondeiro

    I would not say Europe, by itself, but instead some member states, that for years have made what is called “bad management” of the resources they had available. this for example what happened in Portugal, and is still happening today, where there is no strategy at all to “rebuild” the country, instead the “leaders” at the wheel of the country, are very incompetent and have no experience or even knowledge to rule the country, because if they had, they would not rais the VAT, now at 23% to 23,25% next year and they would not either keep the high energy prices, there exist! Basically, more integration in European level is needed, specially in member states like Portugal, that obviously are not lucky enough to have responsible and competent people ruling them! However , this integration can only be achieved with the “last” remanining thing, there is still split in 28 ways, which is political integration. Only with thiis it is going to be possible, for the EU to solve this and other problems! ;)

  15. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    Everything will come to its place when USA stays where its place is – in the continent America and when stops intereffering everywere economically and politically, turning the whole world into a place of huge suffering, xenofobia and hate. Their greediness and cruelty is rediculos, it has no boundaries and limits.

  16. avatar
    Bianco Charlie


    ?When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.?

  17. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    35 workweek of 5 days will erase unemployment.Unemloyment benefit enough for living for everyone.No cost measures with huge productivity growth and social improvement with positive economic results also.

  18. avatar

    Creating jobs ofcourse and I believe a more semi-federative Europe.

  19. avatar
    Martin Kuštek

    George it doesn’t work that way since qualifications are not the same: you can’t hire a sweep for every 7 programmers you “liberate”
    this said, yes it can work in low qualified jobs, congratulations, you just transferred the social burden on either government (subsidised wages) or employers (minimum wage regulations)
    don’t get me wrong I’m totally on the same page: less pay, more free time!

  20. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Allow the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French youth to emigrate to their old colonies AND temporarily introduce border and immigration controls in the EU so that rich countries like Germany, Austria, Netherlands and the UK can target import the best youth that Europe has to offer.

    • avatar

      Podba mnie to bo jestem Polakiem i mieszkam z pension rencista ja tu Hiszpani przebylem caly kraj LA PALMA MAJORKA MY SESTESMY MLODZ POTRZEBUJEMY PRACY JAK JEST HISZPANI PODAJRZE ZE JA MAM 39 LAT

  21. avatar
    Eugene Tishchenko

    In Germany, the unemployment and benefit recipient rates of Bulgarians and Romanians are only slightly higher than those of natives, and well below the average of the foreign population ? the vast majority of immigrants work, pay taxes and social security contributions.

    • avatar

      Nicos: What a mind-set. It must really suck to be you.

  22. avatar
    Evgenii Tishchenko

    Modest recoveries in employment following the crisis mask severe youth unemployment. Because labour market struggles during the early stages of working life can have persistent negative effects, understanding job-finding networks among youth is key to forming pro-employment policies. It is interesting to learn the transition from schooling to working life of Swedish youth from Francis Kramarz (CREST) and Oskar Nordström Skans (IFAU). Close familial ties are important in job searches, especially among the less educated. Preliminary evidence suggests that family association can signal worker ability.

  23. avatar
    Evgenii Tishchenko

    It’s also need to know, that the challenges faced by young workers transitioning from school into stable employment are a major concern throughout the OECD. The search for stable employment is a time-consuming process, particularly in countries without highly developed apprenticeship systems. Many young workers – especially the least educated – are caught struggling for years. Considering the importance of this process we know surprisingly little about the strategies used by young job searchers looking for entry jobs. Can we remember “boomerang generation”?!

  24. avatar
    Evgenii Tishchenko

    It is also interesting to know, that the challenges faced by young workers transitioning from school into stable employment are a major concern throughout the OECD. The search for stable employment is a time-consuming process, particularly in countries without highly developed apprenticeship systems. Many young workers – especially the least educated – are caught struggling for years. Considering the importance of this process we know surprisingly little about the strategies used by young job searchers looking for entry jobs. Can we remember “boomerang generation”?!

    • avatar

      Basically, no one in the world wants to discuss 3 key issues for the survival of humanity. 1 Birth Control; 2. End of the notion of endless growth and development 3. Global management of natural and energy resources without monopolistic appropriation. If countries facing these issues in a realistic way mankind can still have some hope.

  25. avatar

    Fight unemployment?

    1. stop TTIP
    2. disband EU
    3. disband Euro
    4. protect national industries
    5. ban products from countries that fail to meet minimum standards in workers rights, environmental protection and consumer protection

    Stop with the government policies that benefit only the rich, corporations and banks.

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