The Social Challenge Ahead
Edited by Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
Chapter 7: Youth, labour law, and European economic crisis
This chapter addresses the differences in prosperity and well-being that follow from the high levels of youth unemployment in the EU. Not only do the member states that were hardest hit by the economic crisis have the highest levels of youth unemployment; equally important is the rapidly widening prosperity gap between generations in Europe’s labour market. The author reviews the many EU-level initiatives taken to combat youth unemployment following the crisis. Her analysis underlines the risks involved in adopting legislative reforms that weaken employment protection specifically for young employees. Reforms of this kind have worsened the prosperity gap between generations, since they mean that younger employees receive lower salaries and enjoy less job security than their older counterparts. Against this background, the author argues, it is essential that fundamental social rights are observed in relation to all citizens, including young persons in the EU’s workforce.
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