The European Youth Guarantee: What Viability for Southern Member States? Evidence from Italy

WP 2WEL 1/2014

Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


Affecting more than 5 million young people, youth unemployment in Europe has reached unprecedented levels. In order to tackle the problem, the European Union has recently introduced the Youth Guarantee, a program aimed at encouraging Member States to: establish strong partnerships with stakeholders; ensure early intervention by employment services and other partners supporting young people; adopt measures to enable labour integration; and make full use of the European Social Fund and other structural EU funds.
How incisive can the Youth Guarantee be for Southern European countries? The Italian example can contribute to offering answers through the discussion of three major arguments. First, Southern Member States are suffering from unemployment that is generally spread throughout the population, rather than being affecting only young people. How can they be offered new jobs if the whole economy is structurally weak? Secondly, the sub-national level lacks competencies and services to manage and implement Youth Guarantee schemes. Lastly, the financial constraints posed by austerity measures rule out the possibility to make all necessary adjustments at the national level through an increase in social expenditure.
In conclusion, the paper argues that, when implementing a European policy such as the Youth Guarantee, the differences between countries have to be taken into account, rather than producing a “one-size-fits-all” policy solution. Otherwise, the Youth Guarantee risks to fail and exacerbate the division between a “good” and a
“bad” Europe, as well as to perpetuate the Mediterranean model of welfare that sees families as the main source of welfare provision.