Youth Employment Support: Fighting youth unemployment is a priority for a fair and sustainable recovery


Act for Youth

File photo: PES President Sergei Stanishev joins other MEPs to support the PES Act for Youth campaign. PES launched the European Youth Plan in 2016 and since then we have constantly pushed for more opportunities for young people.

The Party of European Socialists (PES) warmly welcomes the Youth Employment Support package produced by Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and launched today by the European Commission.

The socialist and democratic political family has been leading calls for more support for young people in this crisis and Commissioner Schmit, from the PES family, has been on the frontline to deliver on this demand.

Nicolas Schmit

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, has been leading the work on the Youth Employment Support package 

The Youth Employment Support presented today bears the mark of our political family. Features such as an extended youth guarantee, recommendations on furthering vocational education and training opportunities and a clear skills agenda to help young people prepare for the jobs of tomorrow are in line with our campaign promises. We are proud to see Commissioner Schmit adding them in black and white to the Commission’s agenda.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Socialists and democrats are acting for the next generation, ensuring young people’s employment is supported. This package is much needed and comes at exactly the right time. We warmly welcome this initiative from Commissioner Schmit.

“After the 2008 financial crisis we conceived and implemented the Youth Guarantee to tackle rising youth unemployment. It has provided support to tens of millions of young people since then. Now, building on this work, our political family is once again stepping up for the next generation. We will never sit by and watch as the life chances of young people are eroded. We must support them into employment and training, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised, so all young people can fulfil their full potential.”

Since 2014, more than 5 million young people have registered in Youth Guarantee schemes each year and more than 3.5 million young people accepted an offer of employment, continued education, a traineeship or an apprenticeship.  According to the Commission 24 million young people had beneficiated from the Youth Guarantee.

Following the COVID-19 crisis action is again needed. Eurostat figures show youth unemployment leapt by 159,000 in March alone as the lockdown began, taking the total number to 2.8m (15.4%). According to the ILO, over one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the crisis and among those who have remained in employment, working hours have fallen by 23%. In many cases, only precarious work is available, leaving many young people struggling to survive.

Young people in education are experiencing difficulties too. ILO research shows around half of young students report a likely delay in the completion of their current studies, while 10% expect to be unable to complete them at all. More than half of the young people surveyed have become vulnerable to anxiety or depression since the start of the pandemic.