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The Forum, which took place on 10th and 11th of February in Riga, Latvia, aimed to develop innovative solutions for reducing youth unemployment by boosting cross-sectorial cooperation at a local, national and international level.

“We have a dramatic situation at the European level about unemployment and above all youth unemployment. We have one in five young people that have very low skills and one in six people leaving the schools without the necessary competences.”

Mr Mendes also tackled the issue of NEETs.

According to Eurofound, the term NEET is used to describe young people who are not engaged in any form of employment, education or training. “The term has come into the policy debate in recent years due to disproportionate impact of the recession on young people (under 30 years old),” Eurofound states.

According to the same source, around 14 million young people are not in employment, education or training across the European Union. At the same time rates vary widely from around 5.5% of 15-24 year olds in the Netherlands to 22.7% in Italy.

Mr Mendes said that it is necessary to increase young people’s competences and give them more skills.

“More skills doesn’t necessary mean more math, more physics, it means also more soft skills: Entrepreneurship, capacity of adaptation, languages,” Mr Mendes said.

The Director for Erasmus +, Youth and Sport Unit, DG EAC, and the European Union suggested a partnership between private and public sectors and a cross sectorial approach for solving the issue of unemployment.

“We [public sector] can give good orientation, we can give good words but work has to be done national regional and local level. It has to be done in cooperation with different sectors.”

António Silva Mendes is in charge of the policies and the programme in the domains of adult education, vocational training and also of the general coordination and implementation of the Erasmus+ Programme.

Photos by EaPYouthForum

About The Author

Sani Manchak

Paula Munteanu

Paula Munteanu is a Journalism and Politics student at Kingston University in London, UK, who have done one exchange year in the US, at Grand Valley State University. She worked for five years at the National Radio Channel of Moldova, has been a broadcasting intern for Public Reality Radio and did editing for a couple of online magazines. Given her strong interest in politics and international relations, Paula is writing for a number of different publications now, including International Political Forum, DC Spotlight newspaper, Buckingham Post and The River.