Young people have been hardest hit by Europe’s crisis. Youth unemployment in the Eurozone is roughly double the general unemployment rate. In some countries, most notably Spain and Greece, one-in-two young people are jobless. It’s no wonder that polling by the Pew Research Center suggests young Europeans are “moody and depressed” about the future.

And among young people, those from a minority background are especially vulnerable. In the UK, unemployment rates among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people are roughly twice those of white 16-24 year-olds. Across Europe, young people from a migrant background are twice as likely to leave school early without qualifications.

If Europe wants to live up to its motto of “strength in diversity”, then should more be done to support young people from minority backgrounds? We’ve put together some facts and figures about education, unemployment and youth and minorities in the EU in an infographic below (click for a larger image).


But this costs more money, right? We had a comment from Yvetta about integrating young people from Roma backgrounds (one of the most excluded groups in society, and Europe’s largest ethnic minority). She argued that the problem with improving the employment and education standards of young ethnic minority people is that it requires public investment, and EU member-states cannot afford this right now. Instead, she believes there should be an EU-wide effort to tackle this issue, with European funds invested in those areas that most need it.

We put this to Luis Alvarado Martínez, Vice President of the European Youth Forum. He was not convinced that greater public investment at the EU level was necessarily the only solution:

Luis -Alvarado-MartinezIt’s true that education and youth issues are normally at the back of the queue when it comes to public investment. But more than investment we need a change of attitude. We need a greater willingness to bring new actors into existing schemes supporting young people – including, but not limited to, young people from ethnic minority backgrounds – and we need a greater willingness to invite youth organisations and their non-formal education methodologies to enter the formal education structure.

Sometimes our education systems are so rigid that they don’t accept other points of view or support from other sectors of society. Yet we have to accept that the current system is not working, so we need to try things out and be more flexible. We need to bring in more entrepreneurs, and create links between formal education structures and the labour market – not allowing it to dominate, but at least opening a dialogue. This cross-sectoral approach could provide many of the skills and attitudes that formal education cannot, and non-formal education methodologies have been proven to be very effective with young people, so why not open a space for them?

To get another response, we also spoke to Ewelina Baliko, Attorney’s Assistant at the European Foundation of Human Rights. She was also not convinced that greater EU-level investment was required, arguing that every country is in a different situation with regards to ethnic minorities. She believes that any solution should start at the local and national level:

Should the EU do more to support young people from ethnic minorities? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Hello Dias

142 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Ermal Senior Luka

    Humans r all the same is no different what collar r u what langue u speak where u come from or anything,people have to understand that every human is a same species and nobody got no rights to talk bullshit to no one so that’s depend on peoples choice eu can’t do no shit about it people have to accept that everyone in this world is a same.

    • avatar

      The most important thing is to help people WANT to learn, work, and care about other world.

  2. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Nothing can be done in this area as long as the EU forces ‘ethnic minorities’ to be ‘Europeans’, you can’t be both.

    • avatar

      May I turn your comment around and ask you, Ivan, why you would want to live in Europe unless you want to lead a European way of life and appreciate the values of this society? Don’t you think it is best for people that feel very strongly about their ethnic culture to pursue their interests where that culture is in the majority?

    • avatar
      sarah grunfeld

      Of course you can be an ethnic minority and European for example Irish Travellers

    • avatar

      That doesn’t make any sense. What about ethnic minorities such as the Slovene groups in Austria who were heavily targeted by the Haider Government. Or ethnic groups such as the Welsh in the UK who have their own distinct languages. Or those of mixed racial backgrounds, many people may have one parent who is English/French/Croat and then another a parent from a non-European background.

  3. avatar
    Bronco Petrovic

    what are ethnic minorities? Are other EU member nationals living in another Eu country as well ethnic minorities?

    • avatar

      I partly agree with this comment. Before we can answer the question of the debate we need to be clear on what it means and for that we need a clear definition on what is meant by the term “ethnic minorities”. Jews have been part of European culture and society since ancient times when the Jewish diaspora started. They are “fully integrated”: they have a high educational level, speak the local language etc, not only that but to a degree the Jewish community includes people who have converted to the religion down to choice and have not migrated from anywhere else.

  4. avatar
    Bojan Janković

    The objective is equality of opportunity for all. Care must be taken to ensure that any and all measures to that end are optimally constructive and that they, as such, do not antagonize the key agent of change – the majority.

  5. avatar
    Narcis George Matache

    In Europe, there is no such thing as “minorities”. The Charter of Europe, guarantees everyone equal rights and responsibilities under the European citizenship, practically allowing you to be in the same class with the locals, anywhere in European Union territory.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      @Narcis George Matache- Hi,

      truly, you seem to believe that ideals (“class”) can be legislated- and born is the latest EU produce of a classless paradise? Europe evolved, grew & is plagued- like all other nations- from/by a host of tribal minorities. Brussels need to apply for an ‘extension of time’ to finish this project!

  6. avatar
    Zvonimir Brajkovic

    So lange in Deutschland Asylbewerber Heime Brennen und die EU nichts unternimmt, und auch Politische Parteien wie die CSU Benzin ins Feuer gieen ist es fr die EU nicht gut.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      @Zvonimir Brajkovic

      It is detrimental for everybody if asylum seekers riot, vandalize & cause harm! Be that in Germany or elsewhere! Importation of such illegal & foreign undemocratic habits into Europe calls for immediate actions by applying the full might of the law promptly- (deportation) before such competence is hijacked or watered down by the EU.

  7. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    We are not ethnic minorities or majorities, we are simply human and European, is how we all should all be treated and respected.

  8. avatar
    Rémi Martin

    Why support minorities? I believed there’s only one european people? It’s just proving us european people doesn’t exist!

  9. avatar
    Plamena Ivanova

    stop birth giving from 10-16 years old gypsy children they need to be in school , it’s pedofilia it’s not tradicion….

  10. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    What about supporting all young people?! Some E.U. countries youngsters unemployment rate is over 20percent but you’re talking only about “minorities”..

  11. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    Minorities should respect the laws and culture of majority. If they do not want this, why should they have legislation to help them? On the other hand, I see no reason why a majority will need laws to make them behave different as they did along heir history. I traveled a lot and I saw no local people judging me for who I was (except a few cases), but rather judging me bu what I did. So the real problem is how do we get the people to respect the local laws and to adhere to majority’s culture. Respect the others and you will be respected yourself. I don’t see why I have to change my tradition and culture just to accomodate few outsiders that demand more than they deserve.

  12. avatar
    Paul X

    No, positive discrimination is still discrimination

  13. avatar
    Tomas Kronas

    The EU should do more to help the oppressed social groups. On the other hand, ethnic minorities should do more as well to integrate into the society.

  14. avatar
    Robert Levin

    why do you suggest religion in this photo? they are all free to pray whatever they want in their churches, temples or whatever. the LAW is made by our states, not by believers. then let’s talk abouth ethics. we are foreigners and minority almost everywhere in europe. are we?

  15. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Sure, discriminate. Then you ask why Europeans are becomming more intolerant. This is why.

  16. avatar
    Radostina Ivanova

    Definitely no. EU should support the young, beautiful, educated population of Europe. Also their fathers, mothers and grandparents who have worked all their life and raised this generation. Thank you.

    • avatar
      Stanley Khaemba


  17. avatar
    TJ Todorov

    No! Hell No! Stop supporting all those “minorities”. This way you discriminate us, the normal white straight men.

  18. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    Why should Europe differ it’s strategy towards young minorities and young majorities ?. Europe has to give general support to all young people , first of all to support employment . Individual governments do not want to do it, deliberately or uncapably , particularly this funny government of Croatia . Here we have 60 % young people unemployed . Disaster.

  19. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    Many confuse ethnic minorities with religious minorities….it is wrong….many countries have many religions but same nationality….you should specify your question.

  20. avatar
    Dawid Dubanosow

    europe should start think bout own ppl, not all others. we appreciate ur concern EU, but we have ur own problems, that u can’t see. so maybe start being more selfish first, then we can start debating bout others.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Unfortunately “selfish” is a word the politically correct do gooders of the EU elite would have banished… they much prefer sitting back on their self centered behinds congratulating each other on how generous they are being with other people’s money

  21. avatar
    TJ Todorov

    EU you build for 60 years, and there are still Scottish, catalunians, etc. that look for independence. What went wrong with that Union?

  22. avatar
    Gatis Gailitis

    No. It should support all the people. Noone should be extra tolerated or less tolerated. That’s what equality is about.

  23. avatar

    As you can see from the data, the people belonging to a minority are more vulnerable than others. It’s true that we are all the same (humans) but it is essential that a human being in the 21st century expresses their belonging to a group of any kind freely and with no consequences like discrimination, hate-speech and prejudices. That way they will preserve their language, tradition and culture which means a diverse Europe and not a one-nation Europe (as e.g. USA). As soon as we understand this we won’t need any policies oriented in this way but until then they are pretty much needed.

  24. avatar
    Miguel Vieira

    Orwellian EU this will end like the old USSR with the chosen ones killing millions of Europeans in they own countries.. Why deleting my post? Afraid of the truth? Censorship is typical of tyrannies..

  25. avatar
    Ibrahim Uzun

    As much rights have the Turkish Cypriot that much Greek Cypriot should have in EU .
    As much rights have the Palestinians in Israel , that much rights for the Israelis in the EU .

  26. avatar
    Akpans Intel

    We need a special body that is directly responsible for anti-simitism,racism,hate etc.This office could work with home land ministries to counter terror and crime against people of color.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Hi Akpans Intel,

      God save us from more burdensome, costly and unproductive organizations- in addition to an EU!

      Please take a pick which of the many existing Org’s would suit your cause best: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_rights_organisations

      The EU owes us citizens to be clear whether to promote what’s in the best interest for its folks- or become something different- like: wishing to mimic the UN, Human Rights Organizations or a neo-church!

      If confused, they better give us back our full sovereignty & we start from scratch- enhanced by decades of experience!

  27. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    Absolutely not, every young person should be given equal chances, regardless of their ethnic origin. The plight of the minorities is due to their own choice to refuse to integrate with the rest of society, stating their traditions or religious beliefs as an excuse. This is most obvious with Roma gypsies and Muslims. For example, unemployment in the Roma gypsy minority is very high not because of discrimination or other faults of the majority but because they follow their traditions to marry at 12-15 years old and create a large family. This is the main reason why Roma girls and boys drop out of school, start creating babies from an early age and thus sentence themselves to eternal poverty, unemployment and misery. The traditions of this community do NOT encourage education and honest work. Instead, parents teach their children pickpocketing techniques, thus directing them to a criminal path later in life. EU should do more for all such traditions to be stopped as they are illegal in Europe. By the way, gypsies are not ethnic Europeans, they came from India and are genetically and culturally Indians. They were just accepted by European societies, but are not an indigenous population.

    With Muslims, again it is a matter of traditions. They like having large families and women’s role in society is mainly housewives. This is why Muslim women’s unemployment rate is much higher than that of the non-Muslim women.

    The issues are more cultural than anything else. This needs to be addressed.

  28. avatar
    Ecs Ferreira

    Yes, but they must be encouraged to join the culture of the motherland: multi etnics but one cultural speaking country.

  29. avatar
    Sandra Lizioli

    The EU should do more to support job creation which in turn will help young (and older) people.

  30. avatar
    Viden-Damian Ivanov

    Absolutely no.
    They have already more privileges than non-minority people.
    You need equality not overpriveleging minorities.

  31. avatar
    catherine benning

    What you are really questioning is, do we, the common men and women of Europe, agree to political engineering and discrimination toward the young indigenous people of our continent. For if that is not what you are asking, why would you consider ethnic minorities are not equal to all other young people here?

    You are asking us to agree to discriminate against young people of which section? The white or non religious? Which people are you suggesting should be disregarded in favour of so called minorities? And then go on to tell us why Europe would want to discriminate against any section of its population? More support to one group means less support to another group.

    This question is also asking us to collude in abuse of those you would ignore or not support. So, no, that must be illegal. Is it not?

    What you really are putting forward here is ‘equality plus’ for some and rejection of others in favour of a certain chosen section. This is a grotesque abuse of the people of Europe on every level.

  32. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Rights and duties go hand in hand. So to give rights one also needs to carry out duties. And the latter is often forgotten.

  33. avatar
    Rudi Špoljarec

    Yes , why not . But it is not only the matter of governmental impact. How could you impact on minority if their families, culture , habbits, do not accept to socialize themselves and to incorporate in the society . Family is the beginning . Here , one vulnerable minority has been sent to the street ,instead being sent to school. Fathers send them.

  34. avatar
    Stere Stamule

    I totally support the idea that EU should support young people from ethnic minorities! However, this has to be for the autochtonous ethnic minorities. Even after the creation of the EU, national States do their best to assimiliate the ethnic minorities. I believe that ethnic minorities are an important heritage of the local, regional, national and European level communities.

  35. avatar
    Marco Musazzi

    Italian youth unemployment is roughly 50% and is (almost) completely white. Unemployment is a social issue, not a minority one

  36. avatar
    Nikolay Kosev

    No. In Bulgaria we tried to support the gypsy minority with money and social help and it turned as the worst thing we could do, because gypsies became lazy and the only thing they started to care is to make more babies, so they can get more social help money. They don’t send their children to school, but make them beg on the street, so my opinion is that we shouldn’t help them at all. They are full citizens of the EU like me and you and they have the same rights BUT also the same responsibilities. No race should be superior, because of their color or “minority” status. The fact that somebody belongs to a “minority”, doesn’t make them special or smth like that. I believe that this racial division is bad for our societies and provokes racism in general and that’s the thing we SHOULD avoid at all costs.

  37. avatar
    Miguel Vieira

    George Soros is the EU expert in this issues, don’t ask us that, ask George..

    The Hidden Soros Agenda: Drugs, Money, the Media, and Political Power

    “…Soros may be the biggest political fat cat of all time. Convicted in France of insider trading, Soros specializes in weakening or collapsing the currencies of entire nations for his own selfish interests…”

    The media consistently ignore the fact that this so-called ?philanthropist? has had several brushes with the law as he has laid siege to national economies and currencies. Hard-working U.S. businessmen understand how Soros has made his money. In protesting a Soros appearance hosted by the University of Toledo, Edwin J. Nagle III, president and CEO of the Nagle Companies, highlighted ?the immoral and unethical means by which he achieved his wealth.? He added, ?I certainly didn?t see included in his bio the stories on how he collapsed whole country?s currencies for his own self interests so that many may suffer.?


    As the Council of Europe celebrates Europe?s largest minority ? some 12 million Roma ? Secretary General Thorbjrn Jagland and Open Societies Foundation chairman George Soros have proposed to set up a European Roma Institute.


  38. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Yes, poor minorities. EU should give them a free home, 3000euro monthly salary, work free. A car, preferably mercedes. Free iphone, ipad and gucci clothes. After all they deserve it for being minorities and being discriminated. They should not have to work to get ahead like the rest of us idiots.

  39. avatar
    Bojan Janković

    To avoid clutter the question on this subject should always be – are you in favor of ensuring equality of opportunity for all or are you not? Remember that it is not necessarily a zero-sum game and that you could have been born on the other side of the fence.

  40. avatar
    Yalçın Mercankosk

    Ask Sir Francis Galton the father of Eugenics. Why am i getting this vibe that this page is ridiculously xenophobic about other cultures and creeds?

  41. avatar
    TJ Todorov

    Wrong macro policing. Stop making wars in Africa. Develop the African states, help them to keep their population busy, healthy, happy in their own countries. With all those wars, with the UN ideas to urbanize Africa and to bring people of the country to the cities you develop problems for the common European future. All those fugitives and refugees they harm the natural balance, and this kind of dis-balanced base will create inevitable crisis, huge crisis. Nobody needs your support! Give us equal opportunities!

  42. avatar
    Paul Moldovan

    EU should use the energy and good spirits of all young people. Realy can’t understand why young people are hit by the crisis. They have much energy and work for less money. They should be favored by the crisis.

  43. avatar
    Eva Benko Zoltan

    EU should lead politicks for the employment of youth regadless of the colour of their skin, tax the rich, that only destroy emloyment and take their money to the fiskal paradises. Implement 4% of inflation, rice salaries and the youth will have work. Intead of mooving the motor of economy , is beeing kept paralised , for the benefit of the oligarquies.

  44. avatar
    Michel Percan

    So you are saying this is not racist? Giving somebody job only cuz he is darker? I thought we fight facism long ago. Also, what is consider white in Europe exactly. Are Italians, Spaniards white or Greek people? If they are how then are Turks or Iranians not white exactly. Give us definition so we can discuss what you mean by this terms.

  45. avatar
    Inês Beato

    Why not have more measures that support all unemployed people the same way? It hurts the same way for everyone, be a minority or not. Just because you’re white you won’t magically have a job, unemployment depends on many factors and they should all be adressed, not just ethnicity.

  46. avatar
    fernando cruz

    No. The EU should do more to stop marginalizing them. And so should they.

  47. avatar
    Veronica STEFAN

    I strongly believe that we really miss the point when we speak about young people from ethnic minorities and NEETs, especially now when the EU has put in force the Youth Guarantee, and this represents a commitment from both the EU and the member states. Nevertheless, we choose not to pay careful attention to whom the NEETs really are and we think one or 3 measures can apply to all categories of NEETs…
    The few data & research we have (together with what was mentioned in the article) clearly shows that young people (15-24) living in the EU with an immigrant background are 70% more likely to become NEETs (as shown in the 2011 EUROFOUND report). The same report shows many other categories that face higher risks than the general young population.
    Therefore, the problem is not the money, because at least thorough the Youth Guarantee there already is a lot of available money, but how we actually spend it and how we actually choose to understand the NEET phenomenon – and actually seeing that are some categories more vulnerable than others (like young people with immigrant backgrounds)….thus, categories that need specific measures…
    What a pity that the discussion is still should we or should we not give “special” support to immigrants…when the money was already being given for that, but is just not used for what it was meant to…
    As informed citizens we should be able to have a more in depth discussion, looking at the existing programmes & mechanisms and how we can actually advocate for their fair implementation (when there is still time to influence the process)…

  48. avatar
    sarah grunfeld

    The EU need to fund anti-racism and diversity training across every sector of society throughout Europe. Racism is at the root of the many inequalities both structural and individual, and yes we know that ‘race’ is a contested concept but racism is very much a lived reality, unless that is tackled integration can never happen -European people need help to adjust to the changing population demographics, to expect it to just happen on the strength on policy alone has not and will not work.

  49. avatar
    Cain Speck

    Personally I agree with the statement. I’m mixed race black and white and to see that black people have the highest unemployment rate is disappointing personally I believe I am a hard worker but when I see others arounde of the same colour acting in a rude manor it makes me wonder why we have the highest unemployment rate. I don’t believe that only the EU should help ethnic minorities I think that social media also portrays an image that is lead upon people at a young age.
    Otherwise I agree with the following statement

  50. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    How can you claim “strength in diversity” when every EU policy is designed to end ‘diversity’ ?

    If you want true diversity the EU must end.

  51. avatar
    Oli Lau

    I don’t understand the link. Why do you need to tax more in order to achieve that? Because everything you will spend, has to be taken from someone else. It creates xenophoby amongst those facing such a high taxe rate in the end.

    it seems to me that “taxes” are your universal cure for any problem the society may face. The only real beneficiaries are those collecting those taxes not the rest of the society.

    What about liberty? Why don’t you simply guarantee the liberty of all? And don’t treat people as “majority” or minority but as human beings, individuals having the same rights.

  52. avatar
    Sam Durado

    Read the case of The Kingdom of Belgium and The Republic of the Netherlands. These two countries have the most open-minded programs in tackling this problem of seclusion and divide in the society but some people with strong religious convictions are just too stubborn and openly reluctant to assimilate and to live harmoniously with the rest without having their undemocratic laws established, these minority group wanted to impose their unfitting stone age fairy tale laws on lands that have struggled to vanish such backward thinking. It is sad though that the moderate members are being misidentified with their radical counterparts. With such cases we expect the rise of ultra nationalist groups which then adds to the problem. The young ethnic minority and the ones who belong to the majority group should avoid being radicalize by extremist groups on both sides of the spectrum, this effort can be further enforced effectively and efficiently in schools and in the households.

  53. avatar
    Ivan Vikalo

    You have to do more for the one’s least off, otherwise you fail to integrate them. Although, one should do more as well on the majority side: combat prejudice etc.

  54. avatar
    Suzie Szabo Newbury

    If you keep giving minority’s preferential treatment it creates resentment and anger from the citizens who are being penalised and discriminated against because they are not a minority.

  55. avatar
    Joao Antonio Camoes

    Yes. With full integration:
    Political, linguistic, religious, history, rights & obligations, citizenship. Conclusion: if he/she wants to live in EU, he/she must adopt our values with full respect and consent of what it means.

  56. avatar
    Любомир Иванчев

    Yes, go ahead, after all the young white people in Bulgaria and Romania are super ultra rich, and the ones in Spain, Portugal and Greece can work wherever they want, as jobs are growing on trees there right now. Sure, none of them need any help. Give money and help to other young people just because they have a different skin color. They need it more just because they come from another race. And by the way, both other two races are more numerous than the white one. Yes, this is totally not racist and totally not ridiculous.

  57. avatar
    Emil Panayotoff

    Well I am from Bulgaria as well and I believe that all those children who have poor families didn’t make that choice. We need to ensure that they have fair chances in life as all the other children. That’s more than obvious to me. Of course we should not ask that question this way. It is not about minorities or color. It is about all children from modest or poor families.

  58. avatar
    Kossack Nikko

    The best the EU can do is to close down save us a bundle of cash we can do diversification projects

  59. avatar
    Alex Lexva

    Sometimes I wonder of this strength through diversity thing whether it just looks good on paper or actually works. Certain minorities seem to become radicalized alienating the people at large

  60. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    The ethnic minorities should do more to respect the traditions, the religions and laws of their new chosen country…

  61. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    No. «Positive discrimination» is nothing but «a fast lane for the proviledged» of any minority, in order to produce «simbols of integration». To the extent that «integration» takes place, it is up to «minoritorians» to integrate themselves and excel in the values of the very society they want to integrate in. Like I did. Europe only has to supply «oportunities» (that means jobs; but nothing can replace the integration effort of the immigrants – that’s what are talking about, right?

  62. avatar
    Dino Boy Mican

    Actually in some countries a lot has been done in this field, creating discriminatory conditions against majority citizens…

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More debate series – Europe: United in Diversity? View all

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.