The AAA Rating on Youth Unemployment

The following analysis, made by a group of young Europeans on the basis of European parties’ manifestos, focuses on youth unemployment and on the different topics related to that question. Parties have been “pre-rated” on each of these topics according to the degree of importance and priority given to each topic (first traffic light) and according to the degree of details of the proposals on each topic (second traffic light)
PARTIES TOPICS Education Internships / Apprenticeship Worker’s rights Mobility Quality of Employment Discrimination Youth and employment
European People’s Party (EPP)
Party of European Socialists (PES)
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists
The Party of the European Left
Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (MELD
European Democratic Party
European Free Alliance
European Alliance for Freedom (EAF)
Alliance of European National Movements (AENM)
European Christian Political Movement (ECPM)
EU Democrats
European Federalist Party


ALDE: Youth unemployment is mentioned as a priority, as part of efforts against recession and unemployment in general. Their proposals related to youth unemployment focus on education, direct EU structural funds towards job creation and direct EU funds towards research. Education and employment are defined as priority without developing detailed proposals. However, their proposals are limited to digital education and entrepreneurship. On the other hand, if employment, and especially youth employment, is a priority, workers rights, quality of employment and discrimination at work are not mentioned in any part of the manifesto. Mobility of workers and students is a key issue for ALDE but no concrete proposal clearly develops these concepts. Finally, ALDE is one of the few parties mentioning apprenticeship and focusing on mutual recognition, but proposals are again very general.

EDP: The European Democratic Party stands out on proposals related to education, as the issue is clearly mentioned in the manifesto: “the basis for this investment is education […]. Education, together with research and development, is crucial for a prosperous Europe and should constitute the backbone for the reform of our social market models”. However, no clear proposal is detailed. Similarly, workers’ rights are addressed, but only in quite vague terms – solidarity and social justice are mentioned, but without further development nor precise definition of those terms. We can find no mention of internship and mobility and the topics quality of employment and discrimination are given low priority and are only very general.

European Left: The Party of the European Left mentions the fight against precariousness and youth unemployment as one of their core priorities. They stand out in terms of the fight against discrimination and proposals related to quality of employment. The PEL was rated green in its acceptance of workers’ rights and youth unemployment due to the priority placed upon unemployment among young people and women.  Internships and apprenticeships are not mentioned in their manifesto and mobility is only addressed in terms of migration and not in terms of employment. Many other mentions are made of workers’ rights, trade unions, wages, gender, social and regional inequalities, education. However, few concrete proposals support these more general goals.

EPP: The EPP manifesto refers to young people but does not mention unemployment. The party takes a strong stance at investing in education and takes into consideration the changes in the economy, promising to invest more in the new technologies. The EPP also defended recently a directive aimed at enhancing the right of free movement of workers within the EU. But on the other hand, the manifesto of the party does not mention at all decent wages, nor the type of working contracts it defends and does not refer to the fight against discrimination or to internships / apprenticeships. Workers’ rights are referred to but vaguely: the EPP just stands for the possibility for a European working abroad to keep the social rights acquired at home. As for a global strategy to fight youth unemployment, the EPP simply wishes that young people could “look to their future with confidence again”.

Greens: The European Green party has set youth unemployment and the different issues related to labour relations as two of the priorities of their political programme for the upcoming 2014 European elections. Nevertheless, it appeared to the AAAgency that these issues were often not enough articulated and the party’s proposals to tackle them were too vague and generic. They for instance take a clear stance against unfair internships and against social dumping by pleading for the inclusion of a social progress clause in the European law, but without further developments. The only exceptions to this are discrimination and quality of employment, for which concrete proposals are elaborated.

PES: Employment is one of the core subjects of the PES Manifesto and it is given a central place in its programme. Their proposals focus mainly on the Youth Guarantee plan and the PES calls for an increase of its budget and an extension to everyone under the age of 30. Great importance is given to the elimination of any sort of discrimination at work. Decent wage and social rights are also mentioned, even though the manifesto lacks in practical measures to improve the actual situation. The same observation is to be highlighted for education: even though the priority of this subject is clearly recognised, the PES remains vague as to the means to act in this field. Furthermore, no mention is made of internships or apprenticeships. Mobility is not the most developed theme in the manifesto, but a clear priority is still placed upon it.

European Federalist Party: The EFP considers the high unemployment rate as an unprecedented challenge Europeans have to face and holds young and elderly people as most dramatically hit by the crisis. As a transnational party, the EFP seeks a European answer to youth unemployment. The EFP insists particularly on easing the mobility of workers within the Union: it includes a better recognition of diplomas and professional experiences but also a better coordination between national social systems. Social rights are also a main issue to the EFP: the party pleads for a definition of minimum social standards such as a minimum wage and decent working conditions for all. On the other hand, the EFP does not mention the issues of internships and apprenticeships, nor do they address the fight against discrimination at work. Finally, there is no objective set on quality of employment nor concrete proposals going into that direction.

Project DescriptionGet InvolvedParticipantsThe Debate

Leave a Reply