Youth unemployment is costing the European Union (EU) billions of euros each year in social welfare payments and lost productivity, a report said.
Economists say the problem of youth joblessness is particularly profound in the eurozone, where there are currently some 14 million people under the age of 29 without a job, press tv reported.
It is now one year since the European Commission unveiled its €6 billion Youth Guarantee Scheme, which is designed to offer young people a job, training or further education within four months of them having left school or becoming unemployed.
However, a youth unemployment conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Tuesday heard that some EU countries have still not submitted plans to the commission as part of the initiative.
The conference, titled “Youth Guarantee: Making It Happen” also heard that there are serious flaws in education systems across the bloc. This came after a recent survey revealed that 40 percent of firms in the EU have difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills to fill vacancies.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the conference that the unemployment rate among young people has reached an alarming level, "representing a waste of human resources and talent that Europe simply cannot afford."
Recent official figures showed that the unemployment rates for the eurozone and the EU were standing at 11.9 percent and 10.7 percent respectively in February 2014. Around 26 million people are currently estimated to be looking for work in the European Union.
The EU statistical agency, Eurostat, said in its latest report that the highest rates were recorded in Greece with 27.5 percent and Spain with 25.6 percent.
The lowest levels were also found in Austria with 4.8 percent, Germany with 5.1 percent and Luxembourg with 6.1 percent.