The EU needs to invest more in programmes to help unemployed young people and engage them more in democracy says Peter Matjašič, president of the European Youth Forum.
In a commentary for online publication EurActiv, Matjašič said the lack of investment in younger generations will be costly for Europe.
Citing a study by Eurofound, he said youth unemployment costs the taxpayer around €153 billion per year in the EU. In February, youth unemployment – joblessness among under-25s – continued to grow, up to 23.5% from 22.5% during the same period a year ago.
Investing in education – formal and non-formal – would also help engage young people in developing a more democratic Europe, he said.
"Studies show that people who are active in civil society organisations are more likely to vote, including youth organisations and young people," he wrote. "By supporting youth organisations, which are extremely important providers of civic education, the EU also supports the active citizenship and higher voting turnout of young people."
The Youth Forum is an umbrella organisation representing young people in Europe.