This article concentrates on youth transitions into the labour market in one EU member state, Greece. The aim is to explore ways in which the Greek state has responded to the problem of youth unemployment, looking at policies (passive and active) introduced to address this. It reveals that state policies and social norms deeply embedded in the Greek culture, rather than encouraging acquisition of 'full-citizenship' and financial independence, restrict young people's chances for independence from the family. As is the case in other southern European countries, in Greece, the family and informal clientelistic networks of relatives and friends have acted as the primary source of economic and social support for young people. We argue that four co-centric circles circumscribe the type of citizenship available to a young person and have implications for young people's acquisition of full citizenship and financial independence: (a) the family, (b) friends and acquaintances, (c) changes in the labour market and (d) opportunities offered to the young unemployed through passive (benefits, social assistance) and active (vocational training) labour market policies available. With regard to young peoples' ability to become financially independent, these either exercise a centrifugal force, encouraging dependency upon others (especially parents and close friends) for care, guidance and support, or a centripetal force, encouraging them to assume full rights and responsibilities of adulthood.