Youth Unemployment in the EU

Youth Unemployment in the EU

The Youth Unemployment is currently one of the biggest problems in the EU. 5,7 million of the people under the age of 25 who live in the EU-member states were unemployed at the end of 2012. This is more than 23% of all the young people who live in the EU (Spiegel, 2013). Especially young people who live in the southern countries of the European Union have no job. The highest youth unemployment rate has Greece with 58,40%, followed by Spain with 55,7%. These are the only countries in the EU where are more than the halves of the young people unemployed. They are followed by Portugal (38,2%)  and Italy (27,8%) where are more than every third teenager has no job.
The EU-average is 23,50%. The countries with the three lowest youth unemployment rates are: Germany: 7,70%, Austria: 8,90% and the Netherlands: 10,40%  (Statista, 2013).

Reasons for the Youth Unemployment

The reasons for the youth unemployment are very complex and the main reasons are different in every country. The main factors are the current crisis in the EURO-zone, the education and qualification of the young people and the discrepancy between offer and demand on the job markets. Moreover, young people with a migration background are disadvantaged. Not only poorly educated young people have bad opportunities to find a job in the moment. Even well-educated people have problems to find a job through the economic crisis (Caritas, 2013). Another reason for the high youth unemployment rate is that during the crisis more young people lost their job than older people. This is explainable through the fact, that it is easier to resign people which are shorter employed.

Future Perspectives

The objective of the Europe 2020-Strategy, which had been decided by the EU, is to increase the employment rate of the 20-64 year old people to 75%. Moreover, two education objectives have been decided. The first objective is to increase the rate of graduates to 40% and the second is to decrease early school leavers under the rate of 10%. The problem is that these objectives through the economic crisis are tough to reach. Early indicators confirm these problems.  Therefore, the EU decided to start the initiative “Chances for young people”.

The initiative “Changes for young people” is divided in two different measures. The first measure is to introduce the “Youth-Guarantee”-System in the member states where the youth unemployment is higher than 20%. The system should guarantee that young people get a job or an apprenticeship at latest four months after they got unemployed.  Requirements to take part in the system are that the person lives in a member states where the youth unemployment rate is higher than 20%, that the person is currently unemployment and in no apprenticeship. Finally decided was this measure at the 24th of April 2013 (European Parliament, 2013).

The second measure is the pilot project “Your first EURES job” that should support young people by searching for jobs within in the European Union. The first phase of this test is to improve the mobility above the borders for 5.000 young people. Therefore, four labour administrations were founded in Germany, Spain, Denmark and Italy that should support young people to find a job in another country. Moreover, the labour administrations encourage the young people with money for language courses, move and the journey to job interviews (Caritas, 2013).

Regarding the youth unemployment in Europe, you can find an interesting infographic under this article which was released by the European Parliament.

Written by Carl-Frederic Korn, Yvonne Kohaus and Hasan Can Acar

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU – Source: European Parliament


Caritas. (2013). Erschreckend viele Jugendliche in Europa sind arbeitslos. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
European Parliament. (2013). Employment MEPs approve plans to help more young people to work or training. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Spiegel. (2013). Hohe Arbeitslosigkeit: EU beschließt Jobgarantie für Jugendliche. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Statista. (2013). Youth Unemployment in the EU Feb 2013. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.


Quality of life in Europe

Are people in European Union happy? How is their life quality?

First of all, there is a question, how to measure the quality of life. The OECD has a new way to rank the life quality in countries around the world. Called “The Better Life Index,” the new OECD data set ranks countries based on things like the employment situation, leisure time, and life expectancy.

The most important fact while speaking about the quality of life in the EU are the differences between countries. Surveys show that people from countries that entered the EU sooner have a better life standards. Maybe membership in EU is the factor that could influence the development of the country, but for sure the first countries that entered the EU were the big successful countries with strong economies as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, …

The Eurofound stated an interesting survey about the European Quality of Life. It took place from the end of September 2011 to early February 2012 in the 27 European Union Member States. The results are shown in the video below.

The other interesting facts are provided in Numbeo database in survey of the life quality differences between the countries in the world. In the next picture you can see, that the European countries do pretty good comparing to the rest of the world except of the North America.

quality of life in the world

What about the European cities and their quality of life? The top spot has Vienna as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. The rest of the top 10 for Europe are dominated by German and Swiss cities. Zurich is followed by Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Bern. The lowest-ranking cities are Athens and Belfast.

The other important fact is, that the quality of life in EU went down in last years because of the global financial crises. Declines of over 20% in levels of optimism and happiness are reported in some countries across the EU and over a third of people indicate a deterioration in their financial situation over the past five years. Since the year 2007 more people who had good income and were in good quality housing are now struggling with unemployment, debts, housing insecurity and access to services. The countries with the biggest problems of changing the life quality to worse are Greece, Spain and Portugal, Bulgaria, Hungary,… People living in the Northern countries are still holding the better quality of life.


Authors: Veronika Müllerová, Matej Vician, Helena Wenzelová, Zsolt Farkas.

The “Blue Card”

As everybody knows, there are several countries like USA and Canada where you need some kind of documentation for a legal stay and work such as national Green Card programs. Some of these programs were introduced also in single countries of the European Union.

In the recent past there have been many thoughts about starting a program as USA has, the Green Card, also for the whole European Union. In January 2005 the originator of the idea, the EU commissioner for justice Franco Fratini, called the idea a “Blue Card” after the color in the European flag. This program called by the formal name of “Attractive conditions for the admission and residence of highly qualified immigrants” Memo/07/423, is a scheme to attract highly skilled workers and talented immigrants to the European Union.

The reason why some politicians came out with an idea like this is because Europe is suffering from aging of its population and also wants the EU economy to be more competitive and knowledge-driven. So far the Blue Card is just a proposal, and not a working program.

If u would like to know more about this scheme click here and also you can read some news about this topic here.


Blue Card

– Does not give permanent residency

– Valid up to two years, renewable

– Allows holders and families to live, work and travel in EU

– Applicant must have one-year EU job contract with salary of three times minimum wage

– Permanent residency automatic after five years

Green Card

– Gives holder permanent residency

– Valid for 10 years, renewable

– Allows holder to live, work and travel in the US

– Five channels to seek a card: employment, family links, a lottery, investment, or resident since before 1972

– Holders can become US citizens after five years

Labor Force Leaving Eastern Europe

I know that we already have some posts about migration in Europe, but I have found another interesting article about the labour force from Eastern Europe leaving the home countries and going to work abroad…Everybody is talking about how the economic situation and living conditions are improving and also new jobs are being created, salaries are rising but in spite of this there are still many people looking for better opporunities in western Europe. In the wake of the departures of the workers are huge labor shortages. For example Slovakia has created an excellent environment for car manufacturing and capacity has increased, but now automobile companies such as Volkswagen and Kia Motors have been unable to find enough skilled workers to assemble the vehicles. Poland and the Baltic states have been unable to meet housing demands due to too few workers. Things are so bad in Poland that President Lech Kaczynski has complained of being unable to find someone to paint his house because all the painters have moved away. After the entry to EU there are not so many restrictions for immigrants from central and eastern Europe to join the labour market in UK or Scandinavian countries. Now the governments are trying to do some measures to fill the gaps, but are stil reluctant to increase wages because it may degrade their attractiveness to foreign investments. Here is the article.