Category Archives: Y

Youth mobility

Youth mobility

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth mobility


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth mobility

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 21 November 2008 on youth mobility [Official Journal C 320 of 16.12.2008].


The mobility of young people is essential in promoting a sense of belonging to Europe, enhancing social and occupational integration, and ensuring a competitive European economy. However, the mobility of young people is not widespread, regardless of the success of the Erasmus programme.

All young people in Europe should have opportunities for mobility. This should consist of physical mobility, whereby the young person will stay in another European country to study, do an internship, volunteer or carry out other training. In the educational context, “virtual mobility” may also contribute to the mobility of young people. Through mobility, young people may develop their skills and competences, thus improving their versatility and employability.

A European policy for mobility should be cross-cutting, provide for the arrangements with which opportunities for mobility are prepared and supported, and promote the recognition of learning outcomes from periods of mobility and the development of opportunities for mobility for teachers and trainers. Young people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds or having special needs must receive particular consideration.

In light of the above, Member States are encouraged to:

  • provide further opportunities for cross-border mobility within education, training and volunteering, thereby transforming mobility into a widespread phenomenon;
  • take steps to attain the objectives of the current European Union (EU) programmes for education, youth, culture, citizenship and research;
  • build on the work of the High Level Expert Forum in order to facilitate the participation of all young people in mobility schemes and enhance the mobility of all educational staff;
  • take action at various levels and in partnership with various stakeholders to increase opportunities for mobility.

The Member States and the Commission are invited to set out measures to remove possible barriers to mobility and to ensure the recognition of cross-border mobility periods. In particular, they should:

  • develop scope for mobility by promoting active coordination between stakeholders so that the management of public sector support is enhanced, taking advantage of relevant EU programmes, considering the needs of disadvantaged youth and encouraging the establishment of new opportunities for mobility;
  • inform about mobility programmes by disseminating information via various means to young people and their families, educational staff and youth workers, as well as by supporting the implementation of relevant EU programmes;
  • simplify procedures for implementing the EU programmes, for creating the financial incentive strategies and for enhancing the recognition of learning outcomes from periods of mobility;
  • provide funding sources for mobility through appropriate Community financial instruments such as the Structural Funds and by promoting funding from public and private sectors, with particular support given to disadvantaged youth and youth with special needs;
  • enhance the application of the European Quality Charter for Mobility principles in mobility schemes by promoting the exchange of best practices concerning reception conditions, the provision of proper living and working conditions as well as preparation for mobility, in particular from a linguistic and cultural point of view;
  • increase knowledge of youth mobility through comparable statistics and survey results, as well as by conducting impact assessments on the cultural, educational and professional benefits of mobility.

Furthermore, the Commission is invited to set up a work plan for the incorporation of cross-border mobility into other EU programmes. Information on these programmes should then be disseminated as widely as possible, in order to promote them among young people. To this end, national “one-stop-shops” and a European youth mobility portal should be created. In addition, the Commission must provide a mid-term report on the developments of youth mobility in Europe before the end of 2010, followed by regular reports. Finally, the Commission is requested to provide national authorities and other stakeholders with a guide on European policies that may be used to support mobility, as well as to investigate new financial support mechanisms.


The European Council decided in March 2008 to establish a “fifth freedom” whereby barriers to the free movement of knowledge would be removed. This also entails improved cross-border mobility of students, researchers, scientists and educational staff.



Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth


Youth-focused actions contribute towards the education, training, mobility, vocational and social integration, as well as the development of active citizenship of young people within the European Union (EU). The European Youth Pact (2005) provides support to meet all these challenges. As part of the strategy for employment and social inclusion, the “Youth in Action” programme supports cooperation between the different actors involved in the youth field, encourages exchanges between young people and enables them to participate in voluntary activities in order to develop active citizenship.


  • European Youth Pact
  • Youth on the Move
  • A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-18)
  • Youth employment: opportunities
  • EU Youth Strategy
  • Health and well-being of young people
  • Youth mobility
  • Mobility of young volunteers
  • Participation of young people with fewer opportunities
  • Promoting young people’s full participation in education, employment and society
  • Recognition of non-formal and informal learning (in the field of youth)
  • European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011)
  • Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
  • Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people


  • White Paper on Youth

White Paper follow up

  • European policies concerning youth participation and information
  • Common objectives for voluntary activities
  • Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth
  • Common objectives for participation by and information for young people
  • Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Preparatory documents for the White Paper

  • Mobility for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers
  • Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity
  • Social inclusion of young people


  • Youth in Action (2007-13)
  • Youth action programme 2000-2006
  • Programme to promote non-governmental organisations active in the youth field (2004 – 2006)

Youth in Action

Youth in Action

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth in Action


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 [See amending act(s)].


The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 aims to pursue and strengthen European Union (EU) action and cooperation under the Youth action programme (2000-06) and the programme to promote bodies active in the youth field (2004-06). With a view to involving young people in society as active citizens, the programme is intended to strengthen their sense of belonging to Europe. It also aims to contribute to quality education and training in the broader sense and help young people develop a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding.


The programme has five general objectives that complement EU activities (training, culture, sport or employment) and contribute to the development of EU policies (cultural diversity, social cohesion, sustainable development and anti-discrimination). Each of these general objectives is subdivided into specific objectives.

The general objective to promote young people’s active citizenship, which also involves promoting their European citizenship, is made up of ten specific objectives:

  • giving young people and the organisations that represent them the opportunity to take part in the development of society and of the EU;
  • developing a sense of belonging to the EU;
  • encouraging the participation of young people in the democratic life of Europe;
  • fostering young people’s mobility in Europe;
  • developing intercultural learning;
  • promoting the fundamental values of the EU;
  • encouraging initiative, enterprise and creativity;
  • facilitating participation in the programme by young people with fewer opportunities, including young people with disabilities;
  • ensuring that the principle of equality between men and women is respected in selecting the participants for the programme and that gender equality is fostered in the actions;
  • providing non-formal and informal learning opportunities with a European dimension and opening up innovative opportunities in connection with active citizenship.

The general objective to develop solidarity among young people aims to promote tolerance and thus reinforce social cohesion by means of two specific objectives:

  • giving young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through voluntary activities at European and international level;
  • involving young people in EU solidarity actions.

The general objective to foster mutual understanding between young people in different countries includes three specific objectives:

  • developing exchanges and intercultural dialogue between young people in the EU and in neighbouring countries;
  • promoting the quality of national support structures for young people and the role of persons and organisations active in youth work;
  • developing transnational thematic cooperation projects involving young people and those active in youth work.

The general objective to develop the quality of support systems for youth activities and the capabilities of civil society organisations in the youth field aims to:

  • contribute to the networking of organisations;
  • develop the training of, and collaboration between, those active in youth work;
  • promote innovation in the development of activities for young people;
  • improve information for young people, including the access of young people with disabilities to this information;
  • support long-term youth projects and initiatives of regional and local bodies;
  • facilitate the recognition of young people’s acquired skills;
  • promote the exchange of good practices.

The general objective to promote European cooperation in the youth field takes due account of local and regional aspects and is made up of four specific objectives:

  • encouraging the exchange of good practices and cooperation between administrations and policymakers;
  • encouraging structured dialogue between policymakers and young people;
  • improving knowledge and understanding of youth;
  • contributing to the cooperation between various national and international youth voluntary activities.


The five actions contained in the programme aim to implement its general and specific objectives. These actions support small-scale projects promoting the active participation of young people, while ensuring the European visibility and impact of projects. These projects are local, regional, national or international, including the networking of similar projects in different participating countries.

The “Youth for Europe” action mainly seeks to strengthen exchanges between young people with a view to fostering their mobility, whilst reinforcing their feeling of being European citizens. The emphasis is placed on participation by young people, whether this is in projects to develop awareness of social and cultural diversity and mutual understanding or to reinforce participation at a linguistic and intercultural level. These exchanges are based on transnational partnerships.

This action also aims to encourage young people to come up with their own projects, thus supporting their initiative, enterprise and creativity.

The participative democracy projects promoting citizenship and mutual understanding also fall within the scope of this action. They support the involvement of young people at local, regional, national or international level, as well as projects and activities based on international partnerships for the exchange of ideas, experiences and good practices at European level on projects at local and regional level.

The “European Voluntary Service” action aims to strengthen young people’s participation in various forms of voluntary activities, both within and outside the EU, with a view to developing solidarity and promoting active citizenship and mutual understanding among young people.

This action supports:

  • young volunteers who take part in a non-profit, unpaid activity to the benefit of the general public in any country other than their country of residence for a period of two to twelve months;
  • volunteer projects involving groups of young people who take part in activities at local, regional, national, European or international level, in fields such as culture, sport, civil protection, the environment and development aid;
  • activities for the training and tutoring of young volunteers and coordination activities for the various partners, as well as initiatives that aim to build on experience gained by young people during European Voluntary Service.

The action covers the volunteers’ expenses, insurance, subsistence and travel, as well as an additional allowance for young people with fewer opportunities where appropriate.

EU countries and the Commission ensure compliance with quality standards, including a non-formal education dimension (activities to prepare young people at a personal, intercultural and technical level and ongoing personal support), the substance of the partnerships and risk prevention.

The “Youth of the world” action contributes to the development of young people’s mutual understanding and active engagement through an open-minded approach to the world. The aim of this action is to support projects conducted with non-EU countries that have signed agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field, such as exchanges of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. It also supports initiatives that reinforce young people’s mutual understanding, sense of solidarity and tolerance, as well as cooperation in the field of youth and civil society in these countries.

The programme distinguishes projects conducted with the neighbouring countries (European neighbourhood policy (ENP) partner countries, Russia and western Balkan countries) from those conducted with other non-EU countries. Preference is given to the exchange of ideas and good practices, the development of partnerships and networks and the development of civil society.

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

  • bodies active at European level: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pursuing a goal of general European interest and involved in the active participation of young people in public life and society and in the implementation of European cooperation activities in this field;
  • the European Youth Forum and its activities in representing youth organisations vis-à-vis the EU, its function as an information relay to young people or its contribution to the new cooperation framework in the youth field. The annual resources allocated to the Forum shall not be less than EUR 2 million even though at least 20 % of its budget must be covered by non-EU sources;
  • training and networking of those active in youth work, such as project leaders and youth advisers. The support may cover, for example, the exchange of experiences and good practices or the activities of long-lasting, high quality partnerships and networks;
  • projects encouraging innovation and quality, as well as innovative approaches in this field;
  • information activities for young people and persons and organisations active in youth work, such as those improving their access to relevant information and communication services. These may be European, national, regional and local youth portals or measures that promote the involvement of young people in the preparation and dissemination of understandable, user-friendly and targeted information products and advice;
  • partnerships with regional or local bodies whose funding focuses on projects and coordination activities;
  • support for the structures implementing the programme: the national agencies or assimilated bodies (national coordinators, Eurodesk network, Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform, associations of young European volunteers, etc.);
  • adding value to the programme and its implementation by the Commission through the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, etc.) or information actions.

The “Support for European cooperation in the youth field” action aims to organise structured dialogue between the various actors in the field of youth, i.e. young people themselves, persons and organisations active in this sector and policymakers. The activities may cover:

  • the promotion of cooperation and exchanges of ideas and good practices and the development of the networks necessary to a better understanding and knowledge of youth;
  • the organisation of conferences by the EU Presidencies and of the European Youth Week and support for objectives in the field of youth through the open method of coordination (OMC) and the European Youth Pact;
  • cooperation between national and international youth voluntary activities;
  • seminars on social, cultural and political issues for young people;
  • the development of political cooperation and cooperation by the EU with other international organisations (the Council of Europe, the United Nations, etc.).


The programme is intended for non-profit projects for young people, groups of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. In principle, it is aimed at young people aged from 15 to 28 (under certain conditions from 13 to 30).

The programme is open to EU countries, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), EU candidate countries, countries of the western Balkans, Switzerland (subject to the conclusion of a bilateral agreement) and non-EU countries (or partner countries) that have signed cooperation agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field. It is also open to cooperation with international organisations operating in this field, such as the Council of Europe.

The programme’s budget for the period 2007-13 is € 885 million.

The Commission and the participating countries implementing the programme shall make provision for the necessary structures at European, national and, if required, regional or local level. In this respect, the Commission shall be assisted by a management committee made up of representatives of EU countries and chaired by a Commission representative. Most of the implementation measures must be adopted in accordance to the management procedure. Only decisions regarding the awarding of small grants, which do not involve sensitive decision-making, shall not be adopted in comitology. The programme is mainly managed on a decentralised basis by independent national agencies that must comply with the rules of sound financial management and be subject to audits and financial inspections. However, the centralised projects are managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

In addition, the Commission and the participating countries shall take appropriate measures to encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning of young people (documents, certificates, etc.) and of the experience gained through the programme.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1719/2006/EC

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1349/2008/EC

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Decision No 1719/2006/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Commission Report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2011 – Interim evaluation of the ‘Youth in Action’ Programme [COM(2011) 220 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 2011/82/EU of 31 January 2011 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the ‘Youth in Action’ programme and in the action programme in the field of lifelong learning (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 32 of 8.2.2011].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representative of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on youth work [Official Journal C 327 of 4.12.2010].

Youth action programme 2000-2006

Youth action programme 2000-2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth action programme 2000-2006


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth action programme 2000-2006

The Youth Programme offers young people opportunities for mobility and active participation in the construction of the Europe and contributes to the development of youth policy, based on non-formal education. It aims to promote exchanges and discussion meetings between young people, voluntary work, participation and active citizenship, and the innovation and improvement of international training and cooperation skills in the youth field.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1031/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2000 establishing the “Youth” Community action programme.


The “Youth” Community action programme combines in one instrument several activities which existed in previous programmes such as ” Youth for Europe ” and the European Voluntary Service, for the period 2000-2006. It is also based on the objectives defined by the Commission in its communication ” Towards a Europe of knowledge ” and hence tends to favour the creation of a European educational area.

The main objectives of the programme are as follows:

  • to allow young people to acquire knowledge, skills and competences which may be one of the foundations of their future development;
  • to promote an active contribution by young people to the building of Europe through their participation in transnational exchanges;
  • to foster active citizenship on the part of young people and to enable them to become responsible citizens;
  • to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity so that they may take an active role in society and, at the same time, to stimulate recognition of the value of informal education acquired within a European context;
  • to promote respect for human rights and to combat racism and xenophobia;
  • to reinforce cooperation in the field of youth.

The implementation of these objectives at European level will complement measures taken by and in the Member States. The Commission will ensure that action under the programme is consistent with the Community’s other actions and policies.

The following actions will be carried out under the programme:

  • Youth for Europe: mobility activities for groups of young people (from 15 to 25) based on transnational partnerships;
  • European Voluntary Service: participation of young volunteers (between 18 and 25 years) in a Member State other than the one in which they reside, or in a third country, in a non-profit-making and unpaid activity of importance to the community and of a limited duration (12 months maximum);
  • Initiative for youth: support for innovative and creative projects being promoted by young people;
  • Joint actions: Community aid may be provided for actions undertaken jointly with other Community schemes in the field of knowledge policy;
  • Various support measures: activities for cooperation, education and information, designed to encourage innovation and skills in the field of youth.

The programme is aimed principally at young people between the ages of 15 and 25 as well as those involved in youth work. Attention should be paid to ensuring that all young people, without discrimination, have access to the activities under the programme.

The Commission will ensure the implementation of the Community actions covered by the programme in conjunction with the Member States. The Member States will endeavour to take the necessary steps to ensure the efficient running of the programme at national level.

As part of the process of building up a Europe of knowledge, the measures of this programme may be implemented as joint actions with other Community actions which are part of the knowledge policy, particularly Community programmes in the area of education and vocational training of young people.

The Commission is responsible for managing the programme, which is largely decentralised to national employment agencies located in 31 European countries.

The Commission is assisted by a committee comprising representatives from the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

The financial resources for the implementation of the programme proposed by the Commission in the basic act is EUR 520 million over seven years. Because of the accession of the ten new Member States in 2004, this budget has received the favourable opinion of the European Parliament for an increase covering the period 2004-2006. It now amounts to EUR 615 million.

Besides the participation of the 25 Member States of the European Union, the programme is open to the participation of:

  • the EU candidate countries, in accordance with the conditions fixed in the Europe agreements or in existing or anticipated additional protocols governing the participation of these countries in Community programmes (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey);
  • the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which belong to the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein)
  • for some of the above-mentioned actions, the programme is also open to the participation of countries from other regions of the world, viz. the Mediterranean partner countries, the Eastern European and Caucasus countries, the countries of South Eastern Europe and Latin America.

The Commission is strengthening international cooperation and the relevant international organisations, particularly the Council of Europe

The programme is regularly monitored by the Commission in conjunction with the Member States. On the basis of the reports to be submitted by the Member States by 31 December 2002 and 30 June 2005 respectively, the Commission will submit to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions:

  • an interim evaluation report on the implementation of the programme no later than 30 June 2005 (see below);
  • a final ex-post evaluation report no later than 31 December 2007.



Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision (EC) No 1031/2000

18.05.2000 – 31.12.2006

OJ L 117 of 18.05.2000

Related Acts

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

Report from the Commission – Interim evaluation of the Youth Programme 2000-2006 (covering the period 2000-2003) [COM(2004) 158 final of 01.03.2004 – not published in the Official Journal]

The report stresses that the programme’s objectives have largely been achieved. All the players have been involved in the evaluation process, namely the national administrations, national agencies, youth organisations, youth workers and researchers. However, to adapt the programme to changes in the situation and to respond to the recommendations made by the various players on the ground, the Commission proposes:

  • extending the age limits in the new youth programme in 2007;
  • focusing on young people with fewer opportunities and those living in remote rural areas;
  • helping small youth organisations or those which have never submitted projects;
  • creating regional and local information relays to increase proximity to potential beneficiaries without however decentralising financial management;
  • a simpler and administratively less cumbersome application process and a more transparent decision-making process, including the grounds for the rejection of projects;
  • organising more evaluation meetings at European and national level, and promoting widespread dissemination of good practices;
  • enhancing visibility for the programme and each of its actions, making the most of the results obtained;
  • better distribution of tasks within the partnership with the Council of Europe concerning the training of young workers.

Youth for Europe:

  • consider reducing the length of projects in the new Youth Programme;
  • strengthen partnerships between the national agencies responsible for the Youth Programme

European Voluntary Service (EVS):

  • systematically develop the quality and quantity of voluntary activities: 10 000 volunteers are envisaged each year;
  • introduce a collective EVS, enabling groups of volunteers to carry out their EVS together on the occasion of major events;
  • reform and decentralise the procedure for accrediting host organisations and issuing certificates for volunteers;
  • creating more sustainable support for the old voluntary structures.

Initiatives in favour of young people:

  • link Future Capital (action allowing young people to organise a project on their own as an extension of their voluntary service) with the EVS and support the creation of networking projects via the organisation of contact seminars;
  • use this instrument to encourage the active participation of young people and social inclusion.

Joint actions:

  • continue to focus on themes specific to youth such as active citizenship;
  • limit the requirement for compatibility to two of the three fields , namely education, training and youth, and make better use of the multiplier effect of joint actions;

Support measures:

  • further strengthen quality in youth work. The SALTO Resource Centres and the Partnership Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission on European Youth Worker Training will be used to achieve this goal;
  • make better use of the full potential of face-to-face communication and information technology to reach a wider range of young people in general and to provide them with in-depth information about YOUTH programme priorities;
  • launch, between now and 2006, calls for large-scale projects on an annual basis to support capacity-building and innovation with regard to international training and cooperation in the field of youth work.

As regards the Partnership Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission on European Youth Worker Training, the Commission proposes paying special attention to the efficient use of the competencies and tools at the disposal of the Partnership, e.g. by strengthening the network of trainers who participated in the training measures and capitalising on synergies between the three fields of cooperation (training, research, Euromed) with the Council of Europe.

The Commission could also facilitate access to the programme for organisations located in third countries and give organisations from partner countries the possibility of submitting applications and become leading partners in the projects. It also envisages transposing the model of the EuroMediterranean Youth Action Programme to the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.


Youth on the Move

Youth on the Move

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth on the Move


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth on the Move

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 15 September 2010 – Youth on the Move – An initiative to unleash the potential of young people to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the European Union [COM(2010) 477 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


High quality education and training, effective labour market integration and increased mobility are essential to unleash the potential of all young people and to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for European Union (EU) growth. However, young people continue to face challenges in these domains. Consequently, through its flagship initiative “Youth on the Move”, the EU aims at responding to these challenges and helping young people succeed in the knowledge economy.

The Youth on the Move initiative presents key new actions, reinforces existing ones and ensures their implementation at the national and EU level by exploiting financial support from relevant EU programmes and the Structural Funds. It focuses on four main strands:

Lifelong learning

The Europe 2020 strategy set the target of reducing the rate of early school leaving to 10 %. To this end, action that focuses on prevention and targets pupils at risk of dropping-out should be taken as early as possible. In June 2011, the Council adopted a recommendation on reducing early school leaving, to respond to its different causes. The Commission also set up a High Level Expert Group on Literacy, tasked with recommending new avenues for improving reading literacy in the EU.

In its communication on a new impetus for cooperation in vocational education and training (VET), the Commission reiterates the importance of modernising this sector with a view to improving its quality and provision. Recognising the contribution that VET can make to youth employability and to reducing early school leaving, cooperation in this area was given new impetus at the end of 2010 through the adoption of the Bruges Communiqué . The latter defines strategic objectives for the period 2011-2020 and an action plan with concrete measures at national level and aid at European level.

Apprenticeship-type vocational training and high quality traineeships are essential for enabling young people to adjust to the demands of, and thus better integrate into, the labour market. Hence, the Commission will propose a quality framework for traineeships and will support EU countries in improving access to and participation in traineeships.

The recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning (learning outside the formal education system) can facilitate access to further learning, particularly for young people with fewer opportunities. To this end, the Commission will propose in 2011 a draft Council recommendation to improve the ways in which EU countries recognise skills acquired through such learning activities.

Higher education

The contribution of higher education is essential to achieving the objectives of the knowledge economy. However, the sector needs to be modernised to allow it to contribute even more effectively and to help reach the Europe 2020 target of increasing the proportion of young people graduating from higher education or equivalent to 40 %. To this end, the Commission presented a communication in September 2011 on a new and reinforced agenda for higher education.

Cooperation and competition between higher education institutions are very much influenced by their performance. Knowing the performance level of an institution can help students in their choice of study as well as facilitate partnerships across borders. Thus, in June 2011 the Commission presented the results of a feasibility study for establishing a global multi-dimensional tool to rank higher education performance and educational outcomes. On the basis of these results, the Commission will continue to develop this tool from the end of 2011.

Europe’s innovation capacity is vital for ensuring its economic competitiveness. This requires the further development of knowledge partnerships and the creation of stronger links between education, research and innovation. With this in mind, in June 2011 the Commission proposed the establishment of a multiannual strategic innovation agenda that sets out priorities for the next seven years for higher education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.


Through learning mobility, young people can acquire new professional competences and thus improve their future employability. At the same time, learning mobility has enabled education and training systems and institutions to become more accessible, international and efficient. In order to extend opportunities for learning mobility to all young people, the Commission:

  • created a “Youth on the Move” website for information on opportunities for leaning and mobility in the EU;
  • proposed a Council recommendation to EU countries that addresses the obstacles to learning mobility;
  • will develop a Youth on the Move card to facilitate mobile learners’ integration process abroad;
  • will develop in 2012 a European skills passport based on Europass, which will facilitate the recognition throughout the EU of competences acquired by European young people outside the formal education system.

There also continue to be obstacles for employment mobility, through which young people could acquire new skills and competences. For this reason the Commission will implement:

  • a pilot project called “Your first EURES job” to test new ways to help young people find a job anywhere in the EU;
  • a “European Vacancy Monitor” through which vacant jobs, together with the skills needed, can be identified in Europe.

Youth employment

To contribute to the Europe 2020 objective of increasing the general employment rate of 20-64 year-olds to 75 %, it is essential to reduce the high level of youth unemployment. As part of this, young people should be better supported in the transition from education to employment through active labour market or social measures. At the same time, incentive measures should be put in place for employers to employ new entrants. Young people at risk should be targeted in particular, so as to facilitate their return to education and training or to the labour market. In order to support policy development in this field, the Commission has undertaken to carry out systematic monitoring of the situation of young people not in employment, education or training. It has also established dialogue between the European Public Employment Services which met in March 2011 to examine the approaches and measures taken by these services in order to help low-skilled young people.

Self-employment and entrepreneurship should also be considered as valuable options for reducing youth unemployment and tackling social exclusion. Thus, it is essential that educational institutions, with the support of the public and private sectors, promote entrepreneurial mindsets and attitudes. Young people should be given more opportunities and support for creating an enterprise or for starting their own business. In this respect, the Commission encourages greater use of the new European Progress Micro-finance Facility to support potential young entrepreneurs.

Related Acts

of 19 November 2010 on the ‘Youth on the Move’ initiative – an integrated approach in response to the challenges young people face [Official Journal C 326 of 3.12.2010].

The Council requests that the Youth on the Move initiative is implemented within the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy and in line with the 2020 Education and Training Programme. It also insists on the need to rationalise and optimise the objectives and investments in times of budget constraints.

Youth employment: opportunities

Youth employment: opportunities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth employment: opportunities


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth employment: opportunities

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 December 2011 – Youth Opportunities Initiative [COM(2011) 933 final — Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication presents the current situation regarding youth employment in the European Union (EU) and proposes solutions for tackling the high levels of unemployment in this age category.

Current situation of youth employment

It is becoming harder for young people to find work in a context of rising unemployment. In some EU countries, the rate of youth unemployment may reach 40 %. This Communication notes that a total of 7.5 million people in the 15-24 age group are neither in employment nor in education or training.

Although unemployment is high, many posts remain vacant. This situation points to labour market mismatches in the EU. Between now and 2020, there will be 73 million job openings due to retirement of workers, which should be filled by young people with the necessary skills.

The European Commission has identified several factors in youth unemployment:

  • early school leaving without qualifications;
  • lack of relevant skills and lack of work experience;
  • precarious employment followed by spells of unemployment;
  • limited training opportunities;
  • insufficient/inappropriate active labour market programmes.

Faced with this problem, the Commission proposes to examine national policies and performances. It also plans to provide financial support to national and cross-border actions.

Objectives for fostering youth employment

For the year 2012, the Commission encourages Member States to concentrate on the following objectives:

  • Preventing early school leaving: the 2020 Strategy aims to reduce early school leaving from 14 % to 10 %. One of the tools proposed for achieving this objective is the Council Recommendation of 28 June 2011 concerning policies for reducing early school leaving. The Recommendation advocates measures which combine prevention, intervention and compensation.
  • Developing skills that are relevant to the labour market: young people should acquire the skills required by the world of work as part of their studies. With regard to budget, Member States are requested to plan efficient expenditure for education and vocational training. The Agenda for new skills and jobs proposes in particular a European Skills, Competences and Occupations classification to bring the worlds of education and employment closer together. Furthermore, the Digital Agenda should enable young people’s ICT skills to be improved.
  • Supporting a first work experience and on-the-job training: the Commission believes that apprenticeships and good quality placements in enterprises need to be developed in order to enable young people to acquire skills and experience. Social partners must help young people to target their skills better in their job searches.
  • Getting a first job: the Commission wants to improve young people’s access to the labour market. To this end, Member States are requested to reform employment protection legislation in consultation with social partners. In addition, the Commission wants to encourage self-employment of young people so that they create their own companies.

Actions to be taken to encourage an active youth population

In order to improve young people’s access to employment, the Commission suggests several courses of action:

  • Using the European Social Fund: a portion of the structural funds (European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF)) representing EUR 79 billion should be allocated to education and employment measures. However, new approaches need to be developed in order to support participation of young people in apprenticeship/traineeship programmes.
  • Improving the transition from school to work: it is crucial that the link between education and vocational training is improved through dual/twin-track learning and apprenticeships. Some projects already exist through the ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ programme; however, this Communication specifies that businesses must make a stronger commitment in this area. The Commission plans to present a framework in 2012 aimed at encouraging the provision and take-up of high quality traineeships, as well as a preparatory action for ‘Activation measures targeting young people’.
  • Supporting the mobility of young people in the labour market: the Commission wants to take inspiration from the success of the ‘Erasmus’ programme to encourage more mobility and efficiency in the labour market. To this end, a preparatory action (‘Your first EURES job’) already exists, which aims to support young people and employers through transnational recruitment and job placements. The Commission also aims to strengthen the European Voluntary Service during the last two years of the ‘Youth in action’ programme. A new European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps will be set up.