International Youth Day: Wide variations among status of EU's youth

Written by Martin Banks on 12 August 2016 in News

A new survey shows there are “wide variations” in Europe relating to the current status of the continent’s 90 million 15 to 29 year olds.

Young people. Photo credit: Dods Library

The Eurobarometer poll says that a “clear and significant” shift occurs from the world of education to the world of employment.

The data was released to coincide with International Youth Day (IYD) on Friday, an awareness day designated by the United Nations.

While in the 15-19 age group the vast majority of people in the EU were in education in 2015, the opposite is true for those aged 25-29: most of them were in employment.


In-between, young people aged 20-24 were relatively evenly distributed between education and employment.

Moreover, the proportion of young people neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) increases considerably with age, it found.

The NEET rate, which stood at 6.3 per cent for the age group 15-19 in 2015, almost tripled to 17.3 per cent for the age group 20-24 and reached almost one young person in five aged 25-29 (19.7 per cent).

A European Commission spokesperson said, “The EU totals almost 90 million people aged 15-29, representing 17 per cent of its population.

“These young people are in very different situations, with education and employment patterns varying considerably between member states and by age group.”

The purpose of International Youth Day (IYD) is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youngsters.

The theme for 2016 is "The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production".

IYD 2016 will focus on the role young people play in eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production.

The spokesperson said the Commission particularly welcomed the theme this year, saying the EU was “at the forefront of working towards a more sustainable world.”

“Through its efforts, the Commission is committed to supporting youth. Its particular focus lies for example on strengthening education, vocational training and youth employment in our partner countries.”

Further comment came from European international cooperation and development Commissioner Neven Mimica, who said on Friday,  "For the European Union it is a clear priority to strengthen youth all around the world.

“We want to make sure that young people are at the heart of global development efforts - because it is about their future life and their planet."

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for education, youth, culture and sports, added: "Today, we celebrate Europe’s future. It is important that we empower young people, because it is the young generation, students and young professionals that will shape how Europe looks tomorrow - as a region, an economy and as a community of shared values and identities.”



About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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