The young population is recognised as one of the most vulnerable groups in society. This is particularly the case in today's situation, as the financial crisis has a strong impact on young people.
The European Union recognises that a strategy for economic growth and development must include a strong dimension on social cohesion and social inclusion. This is why, in the EU's Europe 2020 strategy, the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusionis one of the seven flagship initiatives. 2010 was also labelled the European Year Against Poverty and Social Exclusion.
Some recent data on the situation of young people illustrate the need to have a strong focus on this group in the field of social inclusion:
the share of children (age 0-17) and of young people (18-24) in the European Union who live at risk of poverty is 20 %, while for the total population the share is 16 %;
youth unemployment (age 15-24) is consistently more than double that of the total population. At the beginning of 2012, the youth unemployment rate in the EU exceeded 22 % (it even reached beyond 40 % in a couple of Member States) up from a low of around 15 % in spring 2008 and compared with around 10 % for the general population;
approximately 46 % of young adults aged 18-34 in the European Union still lived with at least one of their parents;
the share of young people who are neither in employment, education or training (NEET) grew from less than 11 % in 2008 to more than 13 % at the beginning of 2012. One fifth of children do not have basic standards of literacy and numeracy. And while the percentage of early school leavers has continuously decreased over the last decade, it was still at about 14 % at the end of 2011.
(Source: Eurostat the EU Youth Report 2009 )
Knowledge of young people's situation is essential in order to develop good policies and strategies. The European Commission is therefore supporting a total of 12 research projects focusing on young people and social inclusion under the current research framework programme (FP7).
The following five research projects are managed by DG Information Society and are targeting youth at risk and the use of ICT and new technologies:
COMEIN: http://www.comein-project.eu/(based mobile online communities for the integration of MYP)
HANDS: http://www.hands-project.eu/(mobile toolset for autistic young people to support them in better handling situations autonomously and to develop their social and self management skills)
INCLUSO: http://www.incluso.org/(development of a measurement tool to screen evolution in MYP social inclusion/exclusion and a business and sustainability model for organizations working with ICT in the area of social inclusion)
REPLAY: http://www.replayproject.eu/(gaming technology platform to provide light anti-social behaviour marginalised young persons with a tool to facilitate their reintegration into society)
UMSIC: http://www.umsic.org/(support through music, children with social or emotional disorders, or with moderate learning disabilities, and those who are immigrants with no or limited host country language skills)
The following six research projects have been managed by DG Research and Innovation and are in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities:
INCLUD-ED: http://www.ub.es/includ-ed/(Strategies and good practice for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education)
EDUMIGROM: www.edumigrom.eu(Ethnic Differences in Education and Diverging Prospects for Urban Youth in an Enlarged Europe)
YIPPEE: http://tcru.ioe.ac.uk/yippee/(Young people from a public care background: pathways to education in Europe)
YOUNEX: http://www.younex.unige.ch(Youth, unemployment, and exclusion in Europe)
EUMARGINS: http://www.iss.uio.no/forskning/eumargins/index.html(On the Margins of the European Community - Young adult immigrants in seven European countries)
CSEYHP: www.movisie.nl/homelessyouth(Combating social exclusion among young homeless populations)
A policy review presenting the results of youth research projects funded under the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) strand of FP7 will be released in spring 2012.The results of youth-related socio-economic research projects (SSH) funded under earlier Research Framework Programmes (1996 to 2009) were published in the Policy Review "European Research on Youth: Supporting young people to participate fully in society. The contribution of European Research "..