EU Youth Guarantee still in early stages as unemployment problems rumble on

Today and tomorrow, the European Commission is holding a seminar to help member states with their Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans - part of the Commission's answer to youth unemployment problems in the EU. (Release)

Back in April of this year, the Commission adopted the Youth Guarantee, designed to ensure every young person under 25 receives "a good quality job offer, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed." The principle of the scheme has been backed by every EU country, which must now submit a Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan to set out how the scheme will be funded and function in practice. The ongoing seminar, which is being held in Belgium, is intended to provide support to countries as they set about writing up their plans, which must include information ranging from the roles of public authorities to financial allocation.

Youth unemployment in the EU remains stubbornly high - it was at 23.3 per cent in EU28 in August 2013 (5.499m) - more than twice as high as the adult rate. But there was significant variation across countries, with unemployment in Spain reaching 56.0 per cent and Greece 61.5 per cent, whereas Germany saw 7.7 per cent of its young people out of work.

The €10bn-a-year (2014-2020) European Social Fund will be available to help EU countries set up their schemes. Member states with regions of youth unemployment above 25 per cent are eligible for extra funding, says the Commission, via the €6bn Youth Employment Initiative.

Member states must submit their plans by mid-2014, or at the end of this year if they are looking for additional funding.