The youth unemployment rate in the UK is 20.4%, compared to 8% in Germany and over 55% in Greece and Spain.
Youth Guarantees were developed and operate in Finland and Austria, so there are precedents to show they can be effective. For example, 83.5% of young job seekers in Finland received a successful intervention within three months of registering as unemployed in 2011, and this has led to a reduction in unemployment.
The Youth Guarantee is part of the Youth Employment Package announced by EU Employment Commissioner László Andor.
"High youth unemployment has dramatic consequences for our economies, our societies and above all for young people. This is why we have to invest in Europe's young people now" said Commissioner Andor. "This Package would help Member States to ensure young people's successful transition into work. The costs of not doing so would be catastrophic”.
The economic cost of not integrating young people across the EU into the labour market has been estimated by Eurofound at over GBP 120 billion (Euro 153 billion) per year, or 1.2% of EU GDP just in terms of benefits paid out and lost tax revenue and earnings, according to Eurofound, without counting the long-term costs of unemployment to the economy. This far exceeds the cost of implementing a Youth Guarantee, which would vary according to national starting points.
The Commission will support Member States through EU funding, by promoting exchanges of good practice among Member States, monitoring implementation of Youth Guarantees and awareness-raising.
In addition to the Youth Guarantee and to facilitate school-to-work-transitions, the Youth Employment Package also launches a consultation of European employers and trade unions on a Quality Framework for Traineeships so as to enable young people to acquire high-quality work experience under safe conditions.
Furthermore, it announces a European Alliance for Apprenticeships to improve the quality and supply of apprenticeships available by spreading successful apprenticeship schemes across the Member States and outlines ways to reduce obstacles to mobility for young people.
The European Union has already recommended to the UK government that it should: "Continue to improve the employability of young people, in particular those not in education, employment or training, including by using the Youth Contract. Ensure that apprenticeship schemes are taken up by more young people, have a sufficient focus on advanced and higher-level skills, and involve more small and medium-sized businesses. Take measures to reduce the high proportion of young people aged 18-24 with very poor basic skills."
This is part of a series of country specific recommendations for each Member State, agreed collectively by EU heads of state and government under the Europe 2020 programme for boosting economic competitiveness and jobs.