Greece

The Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, issued by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (MoE) in January 2022, outlines the basic principles of the policy strategy for youth. It covers policies based on the current needs and interests of young people according to international and European standards and aims to “secure active participation of youth in policy making”.

Published on October 25, 2023
Updated on April 3, 2024

Definition of youth

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
17 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
25 years
Upper House
--- (unicameral)
President
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
Female
18 years
Male
18 years
With parental consent
Female
18 years
Male
18 years

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Is same-sex marriage legalized?
Female
Upcoming *
Male
Upcoming *
  • Civil unions recognised. New legislation underway. Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA
Are other genders recognised?
Yes
no compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Yes

The Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, issued by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (MoE) in January 2022, outlines the basic principles of the policy strategy for youth. It covers policies based on the current needs and interests of young people according to international and European standards and aims to "secure active participation of youth in policy making".

The key principles of the strategic plan include:

  • Recognition of the obligation of the State to respond to the specific challenges that young people face today.
  • Cross-sectoral approach to the strategy and interministerial cooperation.
  • Synergy with other policies of relevance to young people, such as education, training, employment and social policy.
  • Equal access for all young people, with a focus on those with fewer opportunities.
  • Policies and measures to facilitate youth mobility.
  • Institutional recognition of the profession of youth workers and support for youth workers.

According to Article 4 of Law 4763/2020, the implementation of the strategy is the responsibility of the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth (GSVETLL&Y).

In addition, in 2018, a Strategic Framework for the Empowerment of Youth for the years 2017 - 2027 was published by the GSVETLL&Y, aiming to provide a strategy for social inclusion and active participation of youth. Finally, according to the EU Youth Wiki, the government is preparing the first National Action Plan for Youth with the participation of all ministries. However, a draft of this document could not be located, and it is unclear when the plan will be adopted.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?
Yes

The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth (GSVETLL&Y) under the Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs (MoE) is the primary authority responsible for youth policy in Greece. According to the EU Youth Wiki, the main objectives of the Youth Directorate, an integral part of the Secretariat, are "the coordination and implementation of youth policy, the promotion of relevant initiatives and actions, and the design, implementation and evaluation of specialized thematic programs and actions for youth." As stated in the EU Youth Wiki, the GSVETLL&Y operates in accordance with a new model of youth support that encourages partnerships with municipalities in order to promote young people's active involvement at a local level. It also aims to promote support for youth organisations through EU programmes, involvement in the EU Youth Dialogue, volunteering, youth work, and young people's cultural and artistic creativity.

The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (INEDIVIM), overseen by the GSVETLL&Y, is considered the national agency for youth. According to their website, INEDIVIM has a public benefit and non-profit character, and "supports young people during their educational and professional journey, as well as their social life" through a variety of programmes.

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?
Yes

The Hellenic National Youth Council (former National Youth Council of Greece) is an umbrella organisation with 59 affiliated members (including six political party youth and non-governmental youth organisations). According to their website, the HNYC is an "independent, non-governmental, non-profit federation of youth organizations." It was established in 1998 and its role is the "official representative of the Greek Youth abroad and the interlocutor of the government at the domestic level".

The HNYC is a member of the European Youth Forum, the Mediterranean Youth Forum,

the International French-speaking Youth Council, the UN General Assembly, and the UNESCO Youth Council.

According to the EU Youth Wiki, in order to strengthen the participation of young people in the management of local affairs, local youth councils are established in each municipality and community in the country.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?
No

According to the EU Youth Wiki, "youth work" is an emerging field of action in the field of youth in Greece. The EU-NET Country Fact Sheet (2017) notes that it is difficult to translate the term into Greek, and that the English term is often used in discussions on this topic. It also states that youth work is "not recognized officially", but that the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs uses the information from the Council of Europe to provide a description: youth work is a "tool for personal development, social inclusion and active citizenship" for all young people, regardless of background, outside of the school curriculum. Further, the fact sheet notes that there is neither an official, professional nor education programme that provides certificates "for ensuring professional rights" to youth workers. It asserts that "neither youth workers nor volunteers working with youngsters are sufficiently recognized."

As the nation's responsible government agency for youth, the General Secretariat of Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning, and Youth (GSVETLL&Y), according to the EU Youth Wiki, is executing a number of policies to reinforce, improve, and expand public knowledge of youth work. Article 85 of Law 4763/2020 establishes the organisation of the GSVETLL&Y, with Department C being the unit responsible for drafting recommendations for the creation of an institutional framework for the recognition and protection of volunteers, as well as youth workers. However, the EU Youth Wiki asserts that there are currently no plans in place for recognising the knowledge and abilities that young people who engage in youth job activities gain.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?
Unclear

According to the State Budget 2022, the total 2022 budget for the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is EUR 5.84 billion (USD 6.44 billion). The General Secretariat of Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth (GSVETLL&Y) has been allocated a total budget of EUR 4 million (USD 4.4 million) for 2022 (see line item 1019-207-0000000, p. 240).

It was not possible to determine an accurate budget figure for either the Strategic Plan for Vocational Education Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, nor the Strategic Framework for The Empowerment of Youth '17-'27. The "Budget" chapter of the latter states that the state budget is an important source of financial support for actions implemented in the strategy, as "youth empowerment constitutes a key national priority". However, no concrete figures were given.

Several of the main priorities for the year 2022 were listed in the official report that accompanied the State Budget 2022, including:

  • Support of youth through the elimination of the tax on parental benefits and donations up to EUR 800,000 (USD 880,300) for first-degree relatives, expansion of the housing benefit to students at Institutes of Vocational Training (IEK), and the elimination of the mobile phone subscription fee for youth up to the age of 29.
  • Funding of the "First Signpost" program designed to combat youth unemployment which will pay a total of EUR 1,200 (USD 1,325) for the first six months of employment to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are hired in 2022 but have no prior job experience.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
783
Youth Progress Index
82.45

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
$20192.6
Human Development Index
0.887
Gini coefficient
33.6

Additional background

According to the World Bank, Greece spent 8.5% of its government expenditure on education in 2014, 8.1% in 2016, and 7.5% in 2020.

According to Trading Economics, the unemployment rate for persons under 25 years old in Greece was 29.7% in February 2023. Even though the European Commission's 2014 document The Youth Employment Initiative GREECE states that the unemployment rate of those under 25 at the time was nearly at 50% and has thus decreased, the situation is still in need of improvement. This compares to an overall rate of 14.5% for all 27 EU countries, making Greece the country with the highest youth unemployment rate within the EU. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for the entire population is, after Spain, the second highest in the EU.

As outlined in an April 2023 article by the European Student Think Tank, not only does Greek youth unemployment fluctuate at one of the highest percentages amongst the European Union, but the gender gap is also significant, with "the youth unemployment rate for men being 36.8% in 2020, while climbing up to 53.7% for women." According to the article, although there has been improvement in this regard, "the gender gap still constitutes a serious structural issue that is also related to societal norms and different models of economic activity." Further, it states that in general, youth unemployment is a larger problem in rural areas, with non-metropolitan island areas being the exception due to "seasonal employment as a result of tourism."

According to a July 2022 article by the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy, a significantly high percentage of Greek households are overburdened by housing costs. The causes include employment instability, low wages and high housing costs, partially due to institutional and foreign investors entering the market and the increase in short-term rentals of housing as tourist accommodations. The article makes clear that the housing problem has a significant impact on youth:

"Many are unemployed, while those who do work usually have low-paid and precarious jobs. With rising rents and the inability of many families to buy a home for their children (as in the past) it is no surprise that our country has the second highest percentage of young people still living at home. Specifically, in 2020 in Greece, 60% of young people aged 25-34 lived in the same house as their parents."

Sources

See all sources (14)

Updates

  • Update 19.05.2024: