Real Youth Guarantee needed as under-25s unemployment set to rise by 70%

The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to significantly improve its youth guarantee after new calculations warned youth unemployment will almost double this year.

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%), while many more struggle to survive from precarious work.

And academics predict the crisis will push youth unemployment to 4.8 million (26.2%) by the end of the year. They also expect the number of NEETs (young people not in education, employment, or training) to increase from 4.9m to 6.7 million.

Facing this devastating scenario, the reinforced Youth Guarantee to be revealed by the Commission tomorrow must increase funding, improve access and prioritise real jobs over low quality traineeships.     

Major problems with the existing Youth Guarantee are:

- Up to 60% of interventions consisted of traineeship rather than real jobs in some member states. Its results “fall short of expectations”, according to the European Court of Auditors.

- Member states are not achieving the aim of providing NEETs a good quality offer within four months as outreach remains limited. Low-quality internships have contributed to precariousness.

- The 6.4bn Euro allocated initially to the scheme between 2014 and 2020 would be equivalent to just 1,333 Euro per young person expected to be unemployed this year. Experts say it should be more than 7,000 Euro per NEET.

The ETUC is calling for:

- Binding quality criteria prioritising real jobs and apprenticeships and banning bad practice which leads to trainees replacing properly paid workers.  

- Increased EU budget and a minimum threshold for member state spending on youth employment

- Universal access to social benefits for participants in the Youth Guarantee

- Involvement of trade unions in designing and delivering the programme

ETUC Confederal Secretary with responsibility for youth Ludovic Voet said:

“Millions of young people in Europe are used as cheap and disposable with few rights as a result of policies pursued during the last crisis which deliberately made jobs insecure.   

“The European Commission made big promises to help the most disadvantaged young people into quality jobs and the evidence shows it has so far largely failed to deliver.

“The impact of the European Youth Guarantee has too often been felt only on paper, lowering unemployment statistics by offering low quality traineeships rather than good jobs.

“Faced with the biggest recession in the EU’s history, the new scheme must increase the funding and quality criteria to ensure it delivers real job opportunities rather than poor quality traineeships or never ending training.

“The European Youth Guarantee was a policy designed to increase employment and must remain so. The most educated generation of Europeans cannot be sent back to training because of a lack of job opportunities.”


Journalists are invited to take part in an online briefing by the ETUC and European Youth Forum on July 2 to analyse the Commission’s proposals for a reinforced Youth Guarantee:

Full ETUC resolution on the future of the European Youth Guarantee: