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 It finds that European welfare states are outdated, not addressing the new forms of exclusion and insecurity that young people are facing, and urgently need reform.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. 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

Veteran UN Syria Envoy to step down, pledges to work ‘until the last hour’ for peace

Medical students as the critical link to address climate change

What does leadership mean in an age of perpetual change?

Rural Bangladesh has already embraced renewable energy. Here’s what the rest of the world can learn

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

Draghi’s top new year resolution: Quantitative Easing

We could be sleepwalking into a new crisis. How should the business world prepare?

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Bacteria vs. humans: how to fight in this world war?

FROM THE FIELD: How the smell of fresh bread transformed one refugee life

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

Can technology save life on Earth?

Erdogan’s Turkey in dire straits for flip flop policies in the Middle East

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

EU Copyright Directive: Will US tech giants comply or ditch the EU market?

On sidelines of UN climate summit, US President calls for protection of religious freedom

Healthcare guidance apps to professional’s continued education?

Cyprus: Joint Statement by the High Representative Borrell and Commissioner Ferreira on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

‘Do everything in your power to tackle climate change’ UN chief urges on Mother Earth Day

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

Deadly earthquake kills dozens in Turkey, UN stands in solidarity and offers support

European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

Emerging technologies are reshaping financial services. Here’s how

Sanctions: Commission further expands Guidance on COVID-19-related humanitarian aid in sanctioned environments

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

Do we judge robots on their colour? This study says we do

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

In The Bahamas, Guterres sees impact of ‘Category Hell’ hurricane, ‘powered by climate change’

Stand for healthcare workers’ safety

Here’s how to help India’s rural population go digital

Residents and visitors to this Dutch neighborhood could share a pool of cars and bikes

MWC 2016: IoT experts fret over fragmentation

Why are the financial markets shivering again?

How to tackle the perils of air pollution

State aid: Commission approves €20 billion Spanish guarantee schemes for companies and self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

After globalization what? Europe’s long, straining shake-up post Davos wreckage

Youth Guarantee putting young people in jobs

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

How to turn a traditional business into a platform-based success

The world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Here’s how to bridge it

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Telecommunications and Internet: A Jungle with no principles?

Much more than a ‘lifeline’ for millions of households, remittances can spur global growth, says UN agency

It’s time to build a responsible media supply chain

Prolonged economic crisis and drought demands urgent response for Zimbabwe’s ‘hardest hit’: UN relief chief

South-South Cooperation ‘accelerates’ us toward 2030 goals, UN Chief says on International Day

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report

Nuclear testing has ‘disastrous consequences’ for people and planet, General Assembly told

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

There isn’t a single country on track to make the UN’s targets for gender equality

Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during World News Media Congress 2019

Competing with Apple and leading innovation: Google’s world replies to EU on android charges

This forgotten chemical element could be the key to our green energy future

More Stings?

Advertising

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