The economic recovery has shown some gradual improvement and almost all EU Member States expect growth in the years to come. However, growth varies across countries and the refugee crisis poses new challenges. The exceptionally extended period of crisis has left long-lasting consequences in many European economies, particularly high levels of unemployment and low levels of job creation.

The main implication of these trends for the EU policy agenda is that it is now more challenging to meet many of the objectives set in the Europe 2020 strategy; Europe is still far from achieving the ET 2020 target on adult participation in lifelong learning. In a scenario of growing social inequality and geographical disparity, simple fine-tuning of the labour market is not sufficient to avoid the risk of a new prolonged period of jobless growth in the coming years. As development of youth unemployment suggests, comprehensive structural reforms that include labour market and education and training policies can bring about change.

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