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By Trudie Knijn (eds.)

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Even remedies for incorporating family formation and its planning at first sight look similar: reconciliation of work and family life by high-quality public childcare, and regulation of part-time and flexible leaves. Small differences however, radically change the perspective. Again, the opposition is public investments versus private savings and extended working lives for those who needed time off for caring, schooling or had bad luck with their company closure. The term re- commodification has emerged in the social policy lexicon after decades of emphasis on de-commodification.

All three paradigms implicitly contain a notion of risk sharing, although it is Schmid (2006) who pictures its social-philosophical assumptions. Referring to Rawls (1990), Dworkin (2000) and Sen (1985), Schmid argues that the extent of risk sharing depends upon whether risks are triggered or caused by individual choice or by external circumstances, and whether the consequences of risks can be borne individually or exceed an individual’s capacity (Schmid, 2006, p. 21). For social policy, Schmid argues, it is important to decide whether these social risks are categorised as resulting from individual choices or from external circumstances.

The financial crisis of 2008–10 compounded the challenges young adults face and also brought policies towards young adults further to the fore. The challenges of integrating young adults into the labour market have been translated into various policy mechanisms of the so-called European Employment Strategy (EES), with Member States being required to respond to policy goals for the EU as a whole and nationally specific concerns identified by the European Commission. Although young adults face similar challenges across the EU, there remains wide national diversity in the outcomes on youth labour markets and the nature of transitions to work and an independent income.

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