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Denmark’s rapidly growing youth unemployment must come down

| Text: Marie Preisler

Unemployment among young Danes has trebled in four years, and the government promises action despite an initial breakdown in negotiations between the social partners on a youth initiative.

Denmark’s youth unemployment is far too high and must be cut, says the Danish government which has launched a so-called ‘ungepakke’ (youth initiative) aimed at fighting youth unemployment. It includes plans for education and further training to make it easier for young people to secure  internships.

A new survey from The Economic Council of the Labour Movement shows Denmark’s youths suffer the highest unemployment figures and are the ones who are hardest hit by the economic crisis.

Since June 2008, when unemployment figures were at their lowest, unemployment among 16 to 24 year old Danes has trebled to 13.3 percent in April 2012. Among 25 to 29 year olds unemployment has risen almost as much. 12.6 percent of them are now without jobs. This is a far greater share than among the population as a whole, where unemployment currently stands at 6.2 percent.

‘Ungepakke’ despite breakdown

That is why this year's tri-partite negotiations between the government and the social partners focused so much on initiatives aimed at stemming youth unemployment. Despite a breakdown in negotiations on 8 June 2012, the government has said it will still push through a youth initiative against youth unemployment. 

What this initiative entails is still not known and probably not decided yet either, but the government promises it will include an offensive education and further training plan aimed at improving the quality of vocational training and at securing a long-term and solid solution to the great lack of internships for students in vocational training.  

“Central to our plans is to tackle the challenges many young people face,” said the Minister of Finance Bjarne Corydon (Social Democrats) when commenting on the breakdown in tri-partite negotiations.

Ministers promise action

The Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager (Social-Liberal Party), promised concrete action:

“Far too many young people have no jobs. We want to do something about it. The government is keen to help the many young who cannot find work or get into education. This is completely unacceptable for the individual and for society as a whole, and we want to present a range of concrete initiatives for the parties in parliament,” she said.

The Minister for Taxation, Thor Möger Pedersen (Socialist People’s Party) also assured young people they would get help from the government:

“We won’t let young people down. It is expensive both for society and for the individual when young people are outside of the labour market. The government will keep working to improve the education guarantee and to secure internships, helping everyone who wants to get their vocational training.”


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