Definition of Youth

The youth policy briefing (2012) notes that youth in Greece is defined as between 15-35 years. In some cases this is extended to 40 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriageable age with parental consent. Under some conditions (e.g. pregnancy) the marriage can take place without age restrictions. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Between the ages of 8-13 years, children may be subject to reformative or therapeutic measures. Source:  US Library of Congress

Majority Age



Voting Age


Compulsory voting.
Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union

Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.53% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.36% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 99.37%Male %
  • 99.07% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 17.10% Male (13-15) %
  • 14.40% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Greece has no dedicated national youth policy. A 2012 report and a 2012 briefing are available.

The youth policy report (2012) notes that no national youth policy nor youth strategy exists. Instead, youth policy is considered “cross-sectoral” with youth affairs legislated across various ministries and incorporating national, European and international policies. Numerous laws cover youth issues such as education, employment, sports, family, rights, health, social protections, and local youth councils. The General Secretariat for Youth, which has responsibility for youth affairs, focuses on three main policy areas: 1) unemployment, employment and labour relationships; 2) social exclusion, social inclusion, youth rights and participation; 3) environment, climate change and green development. National youth programmes are influenced by the EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018).

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The General Secretariat for Youth (GSfY) within the Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs has the “primary task of shaping, monitoring and coordinating the government policy for youth.” The youth policy briefing (2012) notes that the main role of the GSfY is “to promote a cross-sectoral youth policy” and heads an inter-ministerial committee. According to the youth policy report (2012), a Youth Committee cooperates “with non-governmental organisations, social and scientific bodies before making and implementing the youth policy.”

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Greece (ESYN) is an umbrella organisation with 59 affiliated members. It is an “independent, non-governmental, non-profit federation of Greek youth organisations.” According to the youth policy briefing (2012), the ESYN was established in 1998 and its role is “to be the official representative of Greek youth” at international forums and to act as “the main interlocutor” between the Government and young people on “youth issues at the national level.” The ESYN is a member of the European Youth Forum and the Mediterranean Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
EUR 2.9 million
USD 3.9 million
The youth policy briefing (2012) notes the regular budget of the General Secretariat for Youth for 2012 as EUR 2.9 million (USD 3.9 million). It notes an additional “Public Investments Programme” under the General Secretariat for Youth with a budget of EUR 2 million (USD 2.75 million). However, it is unclear what this budget specifically refers to. According to the World Bank, Greece spent 9.22% of its government expenditure and 4.09% of its GDP on education provision in 2005.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

The Huffington Post has reported on Greece’s high youth unemployment:
Unemployment in Greece rose to a new record high of 27.6 percent in May, leaving almost two thirds of young people without a job, the Hellenic Statistics Authority said Thursday.
The jobless rate rose from 27 percent in April and 23.8 percent in May last year. Young people were by far the worst affected, with unemployment among job-seekers aged 15 to 24 standing at 64.9 percent.
Greece has been depending on funds from international rescue loans since May 2010, after years of profligate spending and fiscal mismanagement left it with a massive budget deficit.
In return, successive governments have imposed stringent austerity measures, including tax hikes and salary and pension cuts that have caused the economy to contract. The country is currently in the sixth year of a deep recession.
The country's bailout from the International Monetary Fund and other European countries that use the euro as their currency is delivered in installments, and Greece's finances are inspected by its creditors before each disbursement.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek has also report on the economic situation in Greece:
Outside an unmarked green metal door in the hallway of a suburban Athens high school, Tina Stratigaki waits for a job interview. It’s a Tuesday in mid-July. Stratigaki, 29, applied for the job as a social worker weeks ago and had taken an hour-long test the Friday before. Based on the list of applicants posted on the wall outside the exam, she estimates there were some 2,000 candidates for 21 open positions. This is the last interview she’s likely to get before Greece shuts down for the summer holidays. Her unemployment benefits—about €360 ($475) a month from her previous job working with disadvantaged women and children—have just run out. “I’m a little bit stressed,” she says.
Jobs of any kind are scarce in today’s Greece. Nearly six years of deep recession have swept away a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, the kind of devastation usually seen only in times of war. In a country of 11 million people, the economy lost more than a million jobs as businesses shut their doors or shed staff. Unemployment has reached 27 percent—higher than the U.S. jobless rate during the Great Depression—and is expected to rise to 28 percent next year. Among the young, the figure is twice as high. Meanwhile, cuts to Greece’s bloated public sector are dumping ever more people onto the job market. In July, 25,000 public workers, including teachers, janitors, ministry employees, and municipal police, found out they would face large-scale reshuffling and possible dismissal. An additional 15,000 public workers are slated to lose their jobs by the end of 2014.
Greece’s jobs crisis is a window into a wider emergency that threatens the future of Europe. Across the continent, a prolonged slump has disproportionately affected the young, with nearly one in four under the age of 25 out of work, according to the European Commission. (In the U.S., youth unemployment is 16.2 percent.) That understates the severity of the situation in Italy and Portugal, where youth unemployment rates have soared above 35 percent; Spain’s is 53.2 percent, the second-highest after Greece, at 55.3 percent. European Union leaders have announced an initiative aimed at guaranteeing that all young people receive a job, apprenticeship, or more education within four months of joining the ranks of the unemployed. Governments have pledged €8 billion over two years to combat unemployment in Europe’s worst-hit countries, and the European Investment Bank is offering €18 billion in loans to encourage hiring by small and midsize businesses.