The EU and its member states have put in place a series of concrete measures to help young Europeans get a job, an apprenticeship or further education.  

Youth unemployment in the EU-28: facts & figures, October 2016

  • EU youth unemployment rate is over twice as high as the adult one - 18.4% against 8.3% (20.7% against 9.8% in the euro area) 
  • 4.2 million young Europeans under 25 are unemployed (2.9 million in the euro area)
  • differences in youth unemployment rates between EU countries are high: from 6.9% in Germany to almost 50% in Greece (46,5% in October 2016), Spain (43.6%) and Italy (36.4%)  
  • youth unemployment dropped by 350.000 since October 2015

Source: Eurostat

4 measures to boost youth employment

  • youth guarantee schemes: to help ensure that all young people under 25 get a quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed
  • youth employment Initiative: EU funding to support young people in regions where youth unemployment rates are above 25%
  • quality traineeships and apprenticeships: to improve the transition form school to work
  • labour mobility: making it easier for young Europeans to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in another EU country

European Council takes action on youth unemployment

At its meeting on 27-28 June 2013, the European Council took decisive steps to address the urgent problem of youth unemployment. Their decisions included:

  • speeding up and frontloading the youth employment initiative 
  • speeding up implementation of the youth guarantee
  • increased youth mobility and involvement of social partners

Youth employment initiative

The EU leaders agreed to spend the €6 billion youth employment initiative over 2014 and 2015 rather than 2014-2020, as originally foreseen. 

In addition, it has been agreed that the unspent EU funds will be used primarily to support employment, especially for young people, but also in growth areas such as innovation and research.

Helping young people find employment across borders

Leaders agreed to strengthen existing initiatives, such as 'Your first EURES Job' and 'Erasmus +', which also fosters cross-border vocational training. 


EURES currently provides access to over 1.7 million job vacancies, 1.1 million CV's and almost 31 000 registered employers across the EU.

In addition, member states were encouraged to use part of their allocations from the European Social Fund to support cross-border mobility schemes.  


EU leaders agreed to put in place the quality framework for traineeships. It intends to to link up the private sector, social partners and businesses to create high-quality apprenticeships.