The percentage equates to one in four Italians aged between 18 and 24 and is the highest among EU member states. The EU average for NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) within the same age group is 14.3 percent.
Italy is ahead of Cyprus (22.7%), Greece (21.4%), Croatia (20.2%), Romania (19.3%) and Bulgaria (18.6%).
Italy’s youth unemployment rate stands at around 31% - the third highest in the EU after Greece and Spain. Thousands of young Italians leave the country each year in search of work amid an economy that has hardly grown in a decade.
The Netherlands boasts the lowest proportion of NEETs aged 18-24 - 5.3% - followed by Slovenia and Austria.
"At EU level, nearly 5.5 million young persons aged 18-24 were in 2017 neither in employment nor in education or training," Eurostat said. "This is the equivalent of the total populations of Slovakia or Finland".