European welfare states are failing young people

European Youth ForumIn a report published last Saturday, the European Youth Forum highlights that the European social model is no longer protecting young people with young people now at higher risk of social exclusion and poverty1. It finds that European welfare states are outdated, not addressing the new forms of exclusion and insecurity that young people are facing, and urgently need reform.

The report, “Social inclusion and young people – excluding youth: a threat to our future”, was launched at a high level event today as part of the YO!Fest at the European Youth Event in Strasbourg.

In its report, the Youth Forum illustrates that Europe’s social model, which should provide a safety net for everyone, is broken. It highlights that welfare state interventions are no longer supporting young people, but are actually stopping them from achieving autonomy, with a grave impact not just on the individual young person but on European society as a whole. 

Unemployment continues to blight the young generation, with more than 4 million young people unemployed. Yet unemployment benefits – designed to be a safety net when job-less – are inaccessible to young people: in some countries – such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Greece and Portugal – less than 3% of youth are receiving them. This is because the system no longer works with the young peoples current path to independence: Young people today are increasingly facing long-term unemployment straight out of education, or are employed in internships or short-term work that does not allow them to contribute to the system and therefore cuts off their access to social protection. Even where young people are eligible for income support, the support given is not enough to keep them above the poverty line. In OECD countries, around 20% of young people live in poverty.

Discrimination against young people in Europe is rife. Not only has austerity disproportionately affected youth – with cuts to education budgets implemented in twenty countries/regions2 – but welfare reforms as a response to the crisis have been directly targeted at youth. In the UK, housing benefit has been cut entirely for under 21s; a lower ‘youth’ minimum wage is in place in eight European countries3; In France and Spain young people cannot receive social assistance before the age of 25 and 24 years old. And for many young people this discrimination is in multiple forms – young people with disabilities, or from ethnic minorities face double and triple barriers in achieving their independence. 

When it comes to finding a place to live, or accessing healthcare, young people also face obstacles. With affordable housing difficult to find, a “generation rent” has emerged and homelessness4 is growing among young Europeans. At the same time, certain groups of young people, for example LGBTI youth or migrants, are still unable to access healthcare services free from discrimination. 

Lora Lyubenova, board member of the European Youth Forum said

“Welfare systems across Europe are not providing the safety net for young people that they should. Poverty is a reality for way too many young Europeans and the traditional route from youth to adulthood is blocked by lack of access to good quality education, poor quality or no jobs and inaccessible or inadequate social protection. If young people are the future, then the EU, its policies and its investment need to back up that claim and invest in young people and in the future. If it does not, the European social project – and therefore peaceful and harmonised societies – will collapse. ”

The report highlights that these issues will only continue to grow if not addressed now. An ageing society in Europe will put further strain on public resources – and on young people that will need to take on increased care responsibilities – with young women more likely to be impacted; The rise of the so-called “sharing economy” has implications on worker’s rights to social security that could further push young people into a vulnerable state.  Equally, whilst self-employment can be a great outlet for entrepreneurial spirit and should be fostered, the protection of the self-employed worker is still not guaranteed across Europe despite the fact that EU and national leaders are promoting self-employment as a possible solution to the unemployment crisis. 

During its Council of Members in April 2016, the European Youth Forum adopted a resolution: Youth autonomy and inclusion, which calls for all young people’s social and economic rights to be realised

 1 28.2% of young people in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, compared to 24.5% for the whole population

2 in 2011 and/or 2012

3 Youth minimum wages exist in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom and Turkey.

4 In 2013, 7.7% of the EU young population (aged 15-29) faced severe housing deprivation. 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

FROM THE FIELD: South Sudan’s green shoots, highlight environmental recovery from war

European Commission determined to conclude EU-Mercosur trade deal this year despite French concerns

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told

PM May fosters chauvinism, declares trade war on Europe

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

The ECB again takes care of the bankers not the people

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

We know ethics should inform AI. But which ethics?

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Third Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: data breach prevention and cures

May led Britain to chaos, now looks for way out with unpredictable DUP

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

Close to 7,000 evacuated from Syrian towns after enduring nearly 3-year siege

Chart of the day: The internet has a language diversity problem

Reality Shock

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

EU, Brazil to hold high level Summit in Brasilia

UN says ‘many humanitarian achievements’, one year after ouster of ISIL from Mosul

Scientists can lead the fight against fake news

The sad plight of fledging doctors

IMF: All you want to know about Argentina

Vaccinations and the movement of anti-vaccers

Why we need a moderate approach to moderating online content

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

How the powerful science of behaviour change can make us healthier

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

Ukraine pays the price for lying between Russia and the EU

Breaking barriers between youth in the new tech era: is there an easy way through?

New roadmap toward healthier and cleaner oceans adopted by UN Environment and European Commission

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

How music can help children with autism connect

Consumers suffer three defeats

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

The European Sting @ Mobile World Congress 2014, Creating What’s Next for the World. Can EU Policy follow?

Here’s how to prepare South-East Asia’s young people for the future

What the global Internet’s stakeholders can learn from Europe’s new data law

In the future of work it’s jobs, not people, that will become redundant

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

UN chief welcomes ‘first concrete step’ in normalizing Eritrea-Ethiopia relationship

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s