Most youth friendly European region: Catalonia combats youth unemployment

The general assembly of the Assembly of European Regions took place in St. Pölten (Lower Austria) from 31 May to 2 June. Representatives from 270 regions in more than thirty European countries came together to exchange views on innovation and cohesion and to take part in discussions with experts from Danube University Krems.

The meeting saw Catalonia being awarded the Most Youth Friendly European Region Award. The aim is to emphasise the importance of youth policies at regional level, in order to improve young people's living conditions and society's understanding for the role of young people within it. Unemployment is extremely high in the under-30 age group, particularly in the southern EU countries. Catalonia has succeeded in counteracting this trend with its public employment service programme. This project, entitled "New opportunities and unique programmes", was devised by the Department of Labour, Social Affairs and Families.

"Catalonia is building trust in Europe. With its social programmes for young people the Catalan government has successfully demonstrated that regional projects can also have an international impact," said the head of the Catalan Employment Service (SOC), Merced Garau, who was accompanied to St. Pölten by Marta Vilalta, the Catalan General Director for Youth.

This was the eighth time the prize, for which regions in Norway, Serbia, Italy, Austria and Switzerland also competed, had been awarded.