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Portugal: Caritas Report on young people. 5 Recommendations: social protection, education, work, housing, participation

“The Young in Europe Need a Future” – this is the title of the Report by Caritas Portugal presented in Lisbon yesterday. The Report highlights two weaknesses in the Portuguese system that have a negative impact on the situation of youth, namely, “low wages and poor working conditions”, besides “inadequate or poor quality education”. The data about 1.7 million young people in Portugal (16.1% of the Portuguese population) show that 29.4% of them are at risk of poverty. Those at higher risk include young unemployed or underemployed, students and “young people with disabilities”. The dropout rate is 14% (as opposed to a European average of 10.7%), unemployment stands at 20.8%, and the figure for the “NEETs” is 4.9%. Among the difficulties stressed are “the high costs” of both education and accommodation. The Report lists the “policies that are having a limited impact” in fighting poverty and social exclusion, explaining the reasons why they are not being effective, and highlights positive practices such as the Schools National Programme aimed at involving 75,000 young people over the three-year period 2015-2018. There are five policy recommendations: promote decent wage levels and expand social protection coverage in case of unemployment; greater control to prevent irregularities in work contracts and evasion; guarantee equal opportunities in access to education; promote affordable housing for young people; develop a national strategy to promote the civic participation of young people.

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