EU ministers have struck a tentative agreement for a so-called Youth Guarantee Scheme.
Based on a European Commission proposal, it aims to ensure that all people under 26 will be offered a job, training or education within four months of leaving school.
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, said the scheme is “about helping to increase the security of employment for those under 25”.
Europe is currently mired in a youth unemployment crisis.
Countries like Spain and Greece often see the number of jobless youngsters increase in times of crisis.
One reason is the well-protected contracts negotiated by unions in the past.
It means firms are now reluctant to offer similar permanent positions.
Others point to spending cuts as the root cause.
Conny Reuter, president of the NGO Social Platform, called on EU leaders “to stop this blind application of austerity”.
The Youth Guarantee will be funded from six-billion-euro slice of the next EU budget, known as the Youth Employment Fund.