By / July 29, 2013

Youth Guarantees in the EU

Published 17 July 2013, updated 2 March 2015. On 27 June 2013, EU leaders agreed on a youth jobless fund to implement…

© Jonathan Stutz /

Published 17 July 2013, updated 2 March 2015.

On 27 June 2013, EU leaders agreed on a youth jobless fund to implement the 2014-2020 youth employment package announced in December 2012. €6 bn will be made available in the first two years to finance national actions such as (non-binding) youth guarantees. These foresee that anyone under the age of 25 shall receive an offer for a job, an apprenticeship or further training within four months of unemployment or completed education.

Youth guarantees have been a success story in Sweden, Finland and Austria with public employment services playing a vital role in national implementation. The positive experiences in these countries lead to the hope that youth guarantees will help to improve the job situation of young Europeans. Critical voices however predict that expectations in youth guarantees are too high and that they should be seen as only one out of several combined long-term measures.

The ILO estimates that the introduction of youth guarantees would lead to an annual cost of approx. 0.5 to 1.5 percent of GDP. The Commission argues that the implementation cost is less than the cost of inactivity. Youth unemployment in the EU has reached around 60 percent in countries like Spain and Greece.

Over the last years, the European Parliament has repeatedly called for the introduction of youth guarantees in Member States. In January 2013, the EP adopted a resolution on a Youth Guarantee, followed by a resolution on Tackling Youth Unemployment in September 2013. In it, MEPs call for the extension of target groups to include young people under the age of 30. Moreover, they intend to monitor closely national activities on the Youth Guarantee.

By February 2015, approximately 30 national projects have been accepted by the European Commission (see the National Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans and the State of Implementation). However, many of the projects haven’t started yet due to budgetary restraints of Member States. The European Commission has increased the pre-finance level to 30% and hopes to see 650.000 jobs for young EU citizens created. An overview of national measures is given in the YEI country fiches.


The EU’s youth initiatives focus on education and employment/ EPRS briefing, Ivana Katsarova, 2014. This EPRS briefing gives an overview of the situation of young people in the EU, the EU legal framework and main EU initiatives in the field of education and employment and describes the main challenges ahead.

Factsheet: Addressing youth unemployment in the EU/ European Commission, 2015, 5 p.
This factsheet summarises EU action in addressing youth unemployment, from the Youth Guarantee to developing quality apprenticeships and traineeships and facilitating labour mobility.

Factsheet: Youth Guarantee – making it happen, YEI/ European Commission, 2015, 4 p.
This factsheet describes the main idea behind the youth guarantee. According to the factsheet, there are five building blocks: working in partnership; acting without delay; supporting labour market integration; funding the youth guarantee and assessing what works.

Une garantie européenne pour la jeunesse: Favoriser l’insertion sur le marché du travail/ Marie Lecerf, European Parliamentary Research Service Briefing, 27 January 2014, 7 p. This briefing describes the state of play of youth guarantees and their targets, costs, main actors and implementation across the EU.


EU-Wide youth employment guarantee/ CEP Policy Brief 2013-07, 18 February 2013, 4 p. This policy brief explains the EC’s recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee which was adopted by the Council on 28 February 2013. In its assessment, it doubts that youth guarantees will lead to higher youth employment and adds that they restrict workforce mobility.

Youth guarantees: a response to the youth employment crisis/ International Labour Organization, 4 April 2013, 5 p. This policy brief describes main features, impact and costs of youth guarantees. It concludes that whilst youth guarantees can have positive impact on young people’s access to the labour market, long-term evidence of their effectiveness is missing. Moreover, youth guarantees should be only one out of several policies.

NEETs Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe/ Mascherini  M., et al., Eurofound, 22 October 2012, 171 p. In 2011, approx. 7,5 Mio. young Europeans were totally disconnected from both education and labour market. This report examines this group of so-called NEETs and measures their economic and social costs. It emphasises that the success of youth guarantees strongly depends on the combination of different policies and that NEETs remain difficult to reach even with youth guarantees.

Best practice

Dual education a bridge over troubled waters? European Parliament, DG Internal Policies, Policy Department B, 2014, 202 p. This study examines the strengths and weaknesses of dual education/apprenticeships and explores policy developments in the EU-28 in relation to the introduction and/or improvement of apprenticeship schemes.

Youth guarantee experiences from: Finland and Sweden/ Eurofound, 2012, 5 p. Scandinavian countries are ‘pioneers’ in the field of youth guarantees with experience of more than 20 years. Public employment services play an important role and provide young jobseekers with personal assistance. The summary points out that youth guarantees trigger an immediate and important response to youth unemployment yet they cannot solve structural problems.



EU-wide youth guarantees: ILO at the ready/ International Labour Organization, 4 April 2013. The ILO will support the EC’s initiative on introducing youth guarantees by reviewing existing policies and disseminating good practice. Azita Berar Awad, (Head of Employment Policy Dept.) is convinced that “the benefits from youth guarantees can outweigh the costs”.

The European youth guarantee: A reality check/ Besamusca J, et al., Renner Institute, 30 p. This paper assesses national youth guarantees based on several indicators. It concludes that youth guarantees cannot be just copied from one country to another due to different labour market conditions.

AEGEE -Europe’s position on the youth guarantee scheme/ AEGEE, 23 May 2013. The European Student’s Forum welcomes the introduction of youth guarantees. At the same time it urges Member States to involve youth organisations, calls for a shorter period before the guarantee is applied and doubts that the allocated funds will be sufficient.

Framework of actions on youth employment/ European Social Partners, June 2013, 17 p. This policy paper explains the position of European Social Partners towards youth guarantees and which role they can play in the implementation.

EESC opinion: Youth Guarantee (ESF) / EESC, 22 May 2013, 5 p. Describes the position of the European Economic and Social Committee on the EC’s proposal on youth guarantees with several recommendations on funding.

A youth guarantee for Europe, towards a rights-based approach to youth employment policy/ James Higgins, European Youth Forum, 2012, 18 p. Outlines the position of the European Youth Forum on youth guarantees and calls for a right-based approach to employment policy.

Youth organisations and the youth guarantee in Europe / Youth Forum, April 2014, 48 p. This publicaton from the Youth Forum describes the potential impact of youth organisations on the implementation of youth guarantees. The authors argue that the youth guarantee needs to be designed in a way “that deals with the heterogeneous nature of youth unemployment”.

Implementation of EU policies for youth employment: a civil society perspective. Report on six Member States/ EESC, 2014, 27 p.
“The Labour Market Observatory of the European Economic and Social Committee has conducted this study on the implementation of the EU’s youth employment policies in a selection of six Member States: Greece, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Finland, as viewed from a civil society perspective.”


Unemployment rate by sex and age groups – monthly average, %. Table provided by Eurostat. Select “Less than 25 years” on the age scale. Shows the monthly development of the unemployment rate.

Youth Employment Initiative. Eulalia Claros, Infographic, 2014.

Youth unemployment, Statistics explained, Eurostat, July 2013. Explains how youth unemployment is measured. Particularly interesting is the difference between youth employment rate and ratio – further discussed in this article: Unemployment is the scourge, not youth unemployment per se. The misguided policy preoccupation with youth/ Mikkel Barslund, Daniel Gros, CEPS Policy briefs, 26 June 2013, 11 p.

Youth in the EU (15-24 years old)/ Library of the European Parliament, 30 May 2012, 6 p. This statistical spotlight presents youth employment indicators, data on educational attainment, NEETs and more.

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