№294. Unemployment is the scourge, not youth unemployment per se. The misguided policy preoccupation with Youth
Keywords: Unemployment; youth; economic issues; labour relations;
Unemployment is one of the key economic issues in large parts of Europe – especially in the south, which has been in recession for the last 4-5 years. In countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy, youth unemployment rates have risen to levels that are often reported as “alarming” or “shocking” in the media. This has prompted European institutions into a flurry of activity. The Commission has launched a number of initiatives over the last year focused predominantly on young unemployed people. A further string of new measures and the speeding up of already agreed initiatives is expected to be the outcome of the European Council meeting on June 27-28th. Some of these are sensible structural measures – such as building apprentice ship programmes and assisting in better school-to-work transitions – which are likely to have a positive impact on youth unemployment in the longer term. However, most others are found wanting, or even counterproductive.