Author: Greet Jans

Due to the global economical crisis the youth unemployment rate in Europe over the last years peeks historically high. Special care is taken of the youth unemployment rate, which is generally higher. In 2010, with the rate for the EU at 20.9 %, more than one on five young Europeans was not employed, but looking and available for a job.

Investing in youth is investing in the future and Europe has understood that since long. Inside the European Union a lot of efforts are made to increase the youth employment and the topic is listed as one of the priorities of the past year. But how is the situation in the neighboring and candidate countries? Are they at a similar level as the EU? We’ll try to briefly describe the current situation in one of the former Yugoslavian republics and current candidate for EU-membership, namely the Republic of Serbia.

The problem of unemployment

According to data of Youth, Employment and Migration (YEM), a United nations joint programme that has as goal increasing youth employment in Serbia whilst reducing the negative impact of return and irregular migration, the youth unemployment rate in April 2010 was as high as 46.4 %. This rate is incredibly high and exceeds more than double the EU-rate. Only a small 15 % of the population aged between 15 and 24 was listed as employed (in comparison with 47.2 % for the whole working age population). (Source: Eurostat 2010)

“Unity, clear vision, and strong determination are needed to tackle youth unemployment in Serbia” was the opening statement of Miljenko Dereta, the Director of Civic Initiatives in November 2010 at the roundtable under the theme “From education towards the labour market”. This event was just a small part of the awareness campaign about youth (un)employment, considered one of the vital challenges to the Serbian economy and society.

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