In 2016, almost 1 in 3 young people in the European Union aged 20-24 was neither in employment nor in education or training in Italy (29.1 percent), nearly 1 in 4 in Romania (23.6 percent), Greece (23.0 percent), Bulgaria and Cyprus (both 22.7 percent) and about 1 in 5 in Spain (21.2 percent) and Croatia (19.6 percent), according to data released on Friday by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat.
In contrast, the lowest NEET (not in education, employment or training) rate among young people aged 20-24 was recorded in the Netherlands (6.9 percent), ahead of Malta (8.1 percent), Denmark (8.5 percent), Luxembourg (9.0 percent) and Sweden (9.3 percent)..
Almost 90 million people aged 15-29 live in the European Union (EU). This represents 17 percent of its population.
While a vast majority of those in the 15-19 age group in 2016 was in education, the opposite was true for those aged 25-29.
The proportion of NEET young people increases considerably with age. The NEET rate, which stood at 6.1 percent for the age group 15-19 in 2016, tripled to 18.8 percent for those aged 25-29.
At EU level, the equivalent of the total population of Ireland – almost 5 million young persons aged 20-24 (16.7 percent) – were in 2016 neither in employment nor in education or training.
Between 2006 and 2016, important changes occurred over the last decade in individual Member States. In twelve of them, the NEET rate has decreased, with the most significant reductions registered in Bulgaria (from 29.3 percent in 2006 to 22.7 percent in 2016, or -6.6 percentage points – pp), Germany (-5.5 pp), Poland (-3.6 pp), Slovakia and Sweden (both -3.4 pp).
In the other sixteen member states, the situation has deteriorated. The largest increases in the proportion of people aged 20-24 neither in employment nor in education or training were registered in Cyprus (from 13.7 percent to 22.7 percent, or +9.0 pp), Spain (+8.0 pp), Italy (+7.5 pp), Greece (+6.2 pp), Ireland (+5.1 pp), Romania (+4.7 pp), Portugal (+4.6 pp) and the United Kingdom (+4.2 pp).