European Union (EU) ministers have been urged to agree a new commitment to offer a new job, training or education to anyone out of work for four months.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the guarantee should be adopted to restore people's aspirations.
"I call on them to reach an ambitious decision, to restore a sense of hope among our young people," he said.
"The sad fact is that we simultaneously have high levels of unemployment and skill shortages. The shortfall in ICT professionals could reach 700,000 by 2015. Opportunities exist and we must train our young people to fill them."
Mr Barroso, in Dublin for talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, warned that in Ireland and across Europe young people are asking if they will ever find a job or have the same quality of life as their parents.
The proposed jobs commitment, put forward by the European Commission, would see a new job, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship offered to anyone unemployed for four months on leaving school or being made redundant.
"We need to give these young people a better prospect," Mr Barroso told a conference of chief executives.
EU ministers were holding talks on the proposal in Brussels.
A six billion euro (£5.2 billion) pot in the EU budget has already been set aside to tackle youth employment in regions with jobless rates of around 25%.