We mentioned last week that youth unemployment in the EU is at the highest it’s been in ages. But there could be some very good news on the horizon.

Later today, there’s a debate going on in the European Parliament about the Youth Guarantee Scheme, which if it becomes policy could be very good news for jobseekers under the age of 25 in the EU.

The proposal for the Youth Guarantee Scheme is for members of the EU to introduce early intervention mechanisms to ensure that everyone under 25 is either in employment, education or an apprenticeship or training scheme.

The idea is that all under 25s should receive a ‘quality’ offer of a job, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The scheme would make it easier for governments to use the European Social Fund and it would be integrated into the employment policies of each country within the EU according to its needs – so places like Spain or Greece where youth unemployment is as high as 57 per cent would see this scheme implemented on a larger scale than somewhere like the UK where youth unemployment is only at about 20 per cent.

Under the proposals, the commission also plans to increase the levels of cross-border employment and make it easier for young people to find a job in another EU country.

László Andor, the Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion EU Commissioner, admitted that 2012 was a bad year for Europe in terms of unemployment and said that it was unlikely 2013 would see improvement unless greater progress was made on solving the  Euro crisis – which, he said, includes investment in people’s skills and employability. 

Today’s debate is expected to see questions asked about how the scheme would be funded, how countries would be motivated to implement a youth guarantee scheme and whether such a scheme could become a binding EU policy rather than being left to individual states to choose whether to implement it.

The scheme is due to be voted on during Wednesday’s European Parliament session so fingers crossed the MEPs make the right decision and vote to change things for the better for the millions of unemployed young people in the EU.