Why the EU youth entrepreneurship system has failed?

Over the last decade, the EU has provided tremendous efforts in promoting the youth entrepreneurship policies on all levels. The principle of subsidiarity is opted-out from the general youth policies within the EU, and is complemented with the policies of the Member States as well. In spite of the fact that both EU and its Member States are fostering youth private business ideas, only a slight step toward has been achieved. So, where is the key problem?

In the “year of the EU citizenship” (2013), the Commission has adopted the EU Youth Strategy, which consists of eight chapters, of which the most attractive is the one that deals with the employment and entrepreneurship. In order to promote this very important issue, the EU Member States work together to develop employment guidance, support internships, promote work mobility etc.

In 2013, the Commission has also adopted Youth Employment Initiative which strengthens the youth employment package. It emphasises support for young people in education, employment or training in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 25%. A budget of €6 billion has been allocated to this for the period 2014-20. Despite the well based policy and the readiness of all the stakeholders to get involved in further strengthening the role of youth in every sector, not all the goals have been accomplished.

In accordance with the Eurostat databases, the youth unemployment has measured a significant decrease in the last 5 years. From the very beginning of 2016, the youth unemployment has been stagnating. Some analysts explained it as a “coincidental trend ready to negatively explode.” Essentially that should have meant that the next fiscal year within the Union will not bring much money for initiatives such as this one.

What could be potential solution?

None information on the success of new youth-opened enterprises have been provided yet. If we put aside the conspiracies that the employment and entrepreneurship policy has failed in practice, it would be necessary to analyse the current situation.

student_survey4A total sum of €6 billion has been provided for the seven-year period. This allocation has been supported by national Member States and other funds as well. Many regions, cities and even municipalities all across Europe also have their own programmes to support start-up business. Undoubtedly, the total amount of money in the system is higher than ever. Seminars, project training sessions, many governmental opportunities and subventions available, should definitely make start-up processes easier. But in practice, it is not the case.

One specific EU freedom, out of well-known four, could make the problem resolution easier. The freedom of capital has the biggest capacity to help in increasing the level of youth-opened enterprises. Combined with the fostered mobility of young entrepreneurs, the EU could achieve the very ambitious goal to introduce the “supranational start-up enterprises.” If several people from Belgium, Portugal, Greece and Slovakia decide to start with a new business, their capital and headquarters will be based in one single state, but their work area will be EU wide from the very beginning.

A new generation of lifelong learners

In 2012, the Commission urged Member States to develop the provision of key competences for all as part of their lifelong learning strategies, including their strategies for achieving universal literacy, and use the key competences for lifelong learning – a so-called “European Reference Framework”, with a view to ensuring that initial education and training offer all young people the means to develop the key competences to a level that equips them for adult life, and which forms a basis for further learning and working life. Also, an appropriate provision is made for those young people who, due to educational disadvantages caused by personal, social, cultural or economic circumstances, need particular support to fulfil their educational potential.

The Commission has expressed its contribution to Member States’ efforts to develop their education and training systems and to implement and disseminate this recommendation, including by using the already mentioned reference framework as a reference to facilitate peer learning and the exchange of good practices and to follow up developments and report on progress through the biennial progress reports on the education and training 2016 work programme.

Are we lacking the ideas?

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible – and achieve it, generation after generation,” was a very notable quote by Pearl Buck which took into account the role of youth within the modern political life. The coherence of adult education and training provision for individual citizens can be achieved through close links with employment policy and social policy, cultural policy, innovation policy and other policies affecting young people and through collaboration with social partners and other stakeholders. Financial crises occurring not only within the European continent but worldwide are just one of the many factors which should trigger the new youth business ideas. But how far and deep in details will further EU politics go, remains to be seen.

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