Youth Unemployment (Communication)

Youth unemployment has risen dramatically as a consequence of the economic and debt crisis in the EU. The Commission presents the Member States with various measures to combat the high youth unemployment level. In this regard it emphasises that the Member States can only increase their competitiveness and thereby achieve more growth and employment by way of “deep structural reforms”.


From an ordoliberal perspective, the proposed measures are generally unconvincing. A government Youth Guarantee will not noticeably increase the employment level of young people because jobs cannot be enacted by the government but must be created by companies. Subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises that create jobs specifically for young people, distort the jobs market to the detriment of the older workforce. In addition, the youth unemployment rates, when looked at in isolation, significantly overstate the problem of youth unemployment. Only the introduction of labour-market-based training concepts will help to reduce structural youth unemployment – positive results will only be seen in the medium to long-term however.