Young people have been hit particularly hard by the economic crisis with regard to their employment prospects. More than 5.5 million young people (under 25 year olds) are currently unemployed in the EU. The unprecedented high level of youth unemployment (EU average 22.6%) is exacerbated with widespread precarious forms of work. This has put the issue of youth employment at the top of EU priorities, in order to give every young person the possibility to fulfil his or her potential and avoid losing a generation of young Europeans.
Among the EU measures complementing national policies to tackle youth unemployment, the Commission has launched the “Youth on the Move” initiative in the context of the “Europe 2020” strategy, followed by the “Youth Opportunities Initiative” in December 2011. With its “employment package” adopted in April 2012, the Commission has proposed a set of concrete measures to boost jobs, identifying key opportunities for EU job-rich recovery.
Priorities on the EU agenda are reducing early school leaving, modernising education, developing skills relevant to the labour market, facilitating the transition from school to work, improving access to the labour market for getting the first work experience and on-the-job training, as well as better use of European funds for specific activities tackling youth unemployment.