The statistics are bleak. Youth unemployment in the EU among 15-24-year-olds has increased by 50% since the beginning of the economic crisis and are now 22.5% on average. Latest figures released by Eurostat show that highest rates are in Greece (53.8%) and Spain (52.9%). Since the first Report in 2009 a number of policies aimed at youth were introduced. In addition to employment and social inclusion, the Youth Report 2012 (produced every three years by the EU Commission) calls for health and well-being initiatives aimed at young people. EPHA welcomes these moves.
to create more and better opportunities for young people and;
to promote active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity.
The strategy proposed initiatives in eight fields of action: education and training, employment and entrepreneurship, health and well-being, participation, voluntary activities, social inclusion, youth and the world, and creativity and culture.
The nine-year strategy is divided into three cycles. Towards the end of each cycle, an EU Youth Report is drawn up assessing results and proposing new priorities for the next three-year cycle. The 2012 Youth Report calls for stronger actions on employment, social inclusion, health and well-being of young people.
Specifically, the Report states that "At EU level, young people are a particular target group of EU health initiatives put in place to tackle smoking, alcohol related harm, nutrition, obesity and drug-use. All but two Member States report that they have taken concrete measures to follow up the Council Resolution on the Health and Well-being of Young People. Many Member States mention initiatives that focus on specific issues, such as alcohol, tobacco and healthy nutrition, or emphasise the value of peer-to-peer education in promoting healthy lifestyles." It is certainly not an exhaustive list of public health problems affecting the youth population in the EU, but it is a good step forward in making their health and well-being a priority.
If adopted by the Council (November 2012), the new priorities will apply from 2013-2015.
The 2012 Report includes a summary of how the EU Youth Strategy has been implemented at national and EU level since 2010 and a comprehensive analysis of the situation faced by young people. Measures to tackle youth unemployment and related issues are at the heart of the country specific recommendations, adopted by the Council in June 2012.
With regards to health and well-being of young people, the EC is already active on several issues, mainly outlined in the Council Resolution on Health and Well-being of Young People (2008) or Youth Health Initiative (2009).
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