The European Union Youth Conference in Bucharest aims first and foremost to make the link between the EU Youth Dialogue and the objectives set by EU Youth Strategy (2019-2027) by directly tackling the EU Youth Goals, in particular goal no. 7 quality employment for all.

This comes in the context of employment remaining one of the most important concerns of young people where the EU should take action.[1] Thus, the Romanian Presidency considers it important to directly engage young people with a view to identifying more solutions on how to improve access to decent work for young Europeans.

Although progress has been made in the EU with regard to recovering from the economic crisis, indicators show that especially if we look at young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) there is still some work to be done.[2] Income inequality, job-match quality, precarious working conditions or risk of in-work poverty are issues high on the agenda of young people and as a result they should be addressed.

In addition, the employment prospects of the future can be equally encouraging and worrying in light of the trends that have already started to impact the nature of work. One could mention here influencing factors referring to for instance technological advances that are expected to bring about an increased use of digital technology and automation processes in the economy, EU’s growing economic old-age dependency ratio, increasing demand of higher skills on the labour market and even climate change, given EU’s ambitions to move to a competitive low-carbon economy.

Against this backdrop the conference aims to offer a discussion platform with a view to exploring together with young people avenues for improving policy-making regarding the management of such transformations and their impact on young people’s job, education and more generally quality of life prospects.

The event also aims to put forward some concrete actions and tested methodologies on the overarching proposed topic of this cycle.

[1] Flash Barometer 455 on European Youth (2018), Survey conducted by “TNS political & social” at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

[2] The NEET rate in the EU for those aged 15-29 has decreased from an all-time high of 15.9% in 2012, to a still concerning 13.4% in 2017, according to Eurostat (Sustainable Development in the European Union: Eurostat 2018 Monitoring report on progress towards the SDG’s in an EU context).