With youth unemployment in the European Union having fallen by about 2 points since the launch of the bloc’s Youth Guarantee deal last April, leaders gathering in Milan this week for a conference on job creation can point to some initial successes.
Host Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, will have bragging rights. Financial incentives for employers who hire jobless youths were expanded across his particularly hard-hit country this week.
But Italy still has a long way to go. In regions such as Emilia-Romagna, where the program has been running for some time, the demand for jobs or apprenticeships is three times higher than the number of available positions.
The situation underscores how difficult it has been to make the Youth Guarantee a reality. When it was launched, governments promised that all of the E.U.’s five million-plus unemployed youths would be offered a job, or at least a chance to learn a skill, within four months. But success has been slow coming, with the unemployment rate still at a troubling 21.6 percent.