A step forward to tackle long-term unemployment, but leaving young people behind
December 9, 2015
The European Youth Forum welcomes the adoption on December 7 of the Council recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed in the labour market but regrets that the recommendation does not address youth, nor takes into account lessons learnt from the Youth Guarantee.
The European Youth Forum recalls that young people are particularly vulnerable to long-term unemployment. With the rate of 6.9% for 15 -29 year olds in 2014, and as high as 29.4% in Greece, many are affected in terms of employability and career development from the medium to long-term.
The ‘job integration agreement’, one of the three pillars of the Council Recommendation will comprise, as a minimum, an individual service offer aimed at finding a job and the identification of a single point of contact, for the registered long-term unemployed. This initiative, based on the same model as the Youth Guarantee, is supposed to complement it, and therefore to only target young people above 25 that are outside the scope of the Youth Guarantee.
This has, according to the European Youth Forum, certain implications on the Youth Guarantee itself. A fair amount of financial and human resources need to be allocated to ensure that the Youth Guarantee actually is an essential tool to tackle long-term unemployment amongst young people under 25. If new proposals from the European Union are not addressing this age group, the Youth Guarantee schemes, which are by no means reaching all young people, must be urgently adapted to better reach out to long-term unemployed under 25. Otherwise this group, already in a vulnerable situation, risks total alienation from the labour market, and potential social exclusion.
The implementation of these ‘job integration agreements’ must also take into account the lessons learnt from the Youth Guarantee. Experience shows that such measures are only effective when there is strong cooperation between all stakeholders, including civil society, especially youth organisations who are active and effective actors in reaching out to those furthest from the labour market. This is far from being achieved as shown by the YFJ Map of involvement of youth organisations in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
Member States in the implementation of this Recommendation must learn from the implementation of the Youth Guarantee so far given the similar challenges that both Recommendations aim to tackle. The European Commission should facilitate an exchange between Member States in order to ensure that best practice, as well as ‘what-not-to-do’, is effectively shared. Throughout this, the constructive involvement of civil society must be ensured, so that such measures do reach those people that are furthest away from the labour market and society as a whole.
Finally, to have positive and long-term consequences, this new measure to tackle long-term unemployment will have to be part of an ambitious and comprehensive approach to social inclusion.
For more information, you can find below the link to YFJ Position Paper on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee:
 For example, a six-month spell of unemployment at the age of 22 results in an 8% lower wage at 23 and a 2-3% lower wage at ages 30 and 31.