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On 7 December 2016, the European Commission adopted two communications on investing in Europe's youth and launching the European Solidarity Corps.

Investing in Europe's Youth

While youth unemployment has dropped to 18.5% in 2016 from a peak of 23.9% in 2013, the fight against youth unemployment remains a priority.

The Communication on Investing in Europe's Youth proposes a renewed effort to support young people.

Through the European Semester of economic policy coordination, the EU supports Member State policies on employment, education, training and youth. EU Structural and Investments Funds reinforce these efforts. The Youth Guarantee schemes, launched in 2013 and backed by €6.4 billion of EU funds, has helped 9 million young people find work.

Investment in skills and competences is crucial to integrate young people into the job market. Vocational education and training systems have proved particularly important since the crisis and the Commission recognises the active engagement of social partners in this area. Two EU initiatives the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and European Pact for Youth have mobilised over 500,000 training and job opportunities in the form of commitments from companies and organisations.

The Erasmus+ programme offers a wide range of opportunities to young people and is expected to support 4 million people by 2020.

European Solidarity Corps

First announced in September 2016, the European Solidarity Corps is now open for registrations.

The initiative will give young people aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to work on solidarity projects around Europe. It aims to inspire young people for the common good and provide them with valuable skills and experience.

Participants can be placed with solidarity project as a volunteer, trainee, apprentice or employee.

Solidarity projects may include:

  • education
  • health
  • social integration
  • assistance in the provision of food
  • shelter construction
  • reception, support and integration of migrants and refugees
  • environmental protection
  • prevention of natural disasters (excluding immediate response)

Young people interested in the scheme can register online.