The Union of Students in Ireland has called on the Government to make a "significant investment" in the EU Youth Guarantee scheme, which is designed to tackle youth unemployment.

The USI warns that the scheme may otherwise be nothing more than a "political box-ticking exercise".

It follows the publication of Eurostat figures that show that almost 31% of Ireland's under-25s are unemployed, a figure that is 7% worse than the EU average.

In February, EU member states agreed on the Youth Guarantee Scheme, under which an offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship is offered to those under 25 within four months of their leaving school or becoming unemployed.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, USI President John Logue said that EU funds earmarked for the scheme fall short of what is needed, and a significant national investment will be required to make it work.

"There is €6bn as it currently stands that has been ring-fenced for this project at a European level, but that is going to have to be matched at a national level in some significant way," Mr Logue said.

"[Unemployment] costs €125bn per annum to the European Union economy, in terms of long-term unemployment among young people."