Down to zero, no excuses

Lidija Globokar, the President and Co-founder of Project 668 speaks in the European Parliament in Strasbourg about her ideas on how to fight youth unemployment

Europe does not turn a deaf ear to the concerns of the youth. Just last week, between May 20-21, the European Parliament in Strasbourg hosted the European Youth Event (EYE 2016). Exactly 7,000 participants aged 16-30 from across the continent could share their ideas and express their concerns about their future, democracy, digital revolution and professional development. Our president and co-founder, Lidija Globokar, was invited to present her ideas on fighting youth unemployment during the Ideas Check Session “Youth Unemployment: Down to zero?” to Commissioner Thyssen and MEP Novakov.

Only a few days before the European Youth Event took place, the results of the Eurobarometer survey conducted among 10 294 young Europeans aged 16-30 in the 28 Member States between 9 and 25 April 2016 were published. One of the most worrying tendencies is the perception of the crisis-related exclusion of the young people on the job market, with 57% young Europeans feeling marginalised in their societies, both economically and socially. Surprisingly, a small minority of young Europeans (12%!) have ever left their native countries in search for work or a degree. This imbalance seems especially dangerous in view of the fact that in February 2016 more than 4 million Europeans between 15 and 24 were unemployed. Those who had a job were still in a precarious position, working on temporary contracts.

These sobering figures served as a background for the Ideas Check Session “Youth Unemployment: Down to zero?”, whose principal concern was how to reduce youth unemployment to close to zero within 10 years. Despite funding initiatives and programmes supporting quality internships such as European Alliance for Apprenticeships launched by the European Commission, there is a strong need for decisive steps. Therefore, three young “idea givers” were given the floor in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Each of them had two minutes to present two ideas. Then, Commissioner Thyssen and MEP Novakov, who were the “idea catchers”, had two minutes to react and comment on the ideas. Our President Lidija Globokar was invited to be one of the idea givers during this session.

Lidija came up with the following ideas: First, she introduced her idea of a pilot project for a Career Centre tailored to the needs of young graduates. The European Commission should select intermediaries (a university or a job centre) in given EU states that would cooperate with students close to graduation and support them in professional development, enabling them a smooth entry into the job market. Moreover, a media partner would work together with the students to gather insider information of certain sectors and by that create a source of information for the young job hunters. Finally, companies would get on board to close the “employment cycle”. In the long run, a public private partnership would be created.

The second idea concerned the competition called “Youth Unemployment Battle“ that would be coordinated by the Youth Intergroup of the European Parliament. Lidija envisaged this as an initiative for public or civil society organizations. The goal of the competition would be to present the projects aiming at fighting youth unemployment via a video. Chosen on the basis of the most votes, the winners would get financial support to implement their proposals. An optimal solution would be to establish a platform through which the participants could exchange their ideas in the long term as well.

The session buzzed with valuable ideas, just as the participants buzzed with enthusiasm. The battle against youth unemployment is still not finished but we are sure that Lidija’s proposals won’t remain without echo and that this kick of fresh ideas was long overdue. On a positive note, it is also worth mentioning that MEP Novakov reacted to Lidija’s second idea with the statement that “I am sure that we can find funding for that and the European Parliament is maybe the best partner for this.”

To learn more about the annual EYE, please visit: You can find the recording of the Ideas Check session here:

Text by Anna Władyka-Leittretter


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