Ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels this week, Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called for tackling youth unemployment to be made a top priority.
Youth unemployment in Wales currently stands at 22.5%, slightly below the European average of 23.5%.
But in some countries such as Spain and Greece more than half of young people are out of work, and in some parts of Wales such as Cynon Valley, Rhondda and Blaenau Gwent, around 40% of young people are out of work.
The summit takes place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday 24 - 25 October.
The European Union has set up a Youth Guarantee Scheme making 6 billion euros available to Member States if they commit to help young people find work, apprenticeship or training within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.
At present, only areas with 25% or more youth unemployment can qualify for EU support, so Wales just misses out with 22.5%.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Jill Evans MEP said:
"Government leaders have put youth unemployment on the agenda of the summit. It must have top priority.
"The EU has created a Youth Employment Scheme with a €6 billion budget to tackle this problem. Wales's youth unemployment rate is 22.5% so were don't qualify for that extra funding but the Welsh government can use the European Social Funding to pay for it. We are calling for the Welsh Government to implement the EU’s Youth Guarantee with a promise to any young person who has been unemployed for more than four months they they will be offered either a job, training or an apprenticeship.
"I’ve seen in countries such as Spain and Greece how devastating high youth unemployment is. In those countries 50% of young people are unemployed and there are areas in Wales, such as the Cynon Valley, that are very close to that.
"We’re also calling for a cut in business rates to all small businesses valued at less than £15,000 as well as ensuring that 75% of public contracts go to Welsh businesses.
"Young people often say that they have nothing to do. Yet our country and our economy need their energy and enthusiasm. In many parts of Wales they simply don’t have a job or training to go to. The Welsh Government needs to step up to this challenge before the situation becomes too severe."