The EU stimulates youth employment through measures such as helping young people under the age of 25 access education and find traineeships and jobs.

Youth unemployment in the EU-28: facts & figures, April 2017

  • 3.9 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU in February 2017
  • youth unemployment decreased by 475 000 in the EU compared with February 2016
  • in February 2017 the youth unemployment rate was 17.3% in the EU compared with 19.3 % in February 2016
  • differences in youth unemployment rates between EU countries are high: from 6.6% in Germany to almost 45.2% in Greece, 41.5% in Spain, and 35.2% in Italy

 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 1.4 million job vacancies, 300 000 CVs and almost 9000 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.