Brussels, 8 July 2014
Youth Employment Initiative: Commission and Member States meet to speed up implementation of €6bn euro dedicated fund
Experts from the European Commission and Member States are meeting in Brussels on 11th July to accelerate the programming arrangements and practical implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative at a special seminar organised by the Commission. The aim of the seminar is to work jointly on the programming of measures financed by the Youth Employment Initiative so that all eligible Member States can start receiving the funds as soon as possible.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented "Many Member States are actively implementing measures to make the Youth Guarantee a reality with the support of the 6 billion euros available from the Youth Employment Initiative and of the European Social Fund, worth over 10 billion euros every year. The YEI funding has a crucial role to play since it shall directly support young people by providing a first job experience, a traineeship, an apprenticeship or training courses. This seminar aims to assist Member States to accelerate the programming of measures to support young people financed by the Youth Employment Initiative and to put this money to the best use".
Money from the Youth Employment Initiative, programmed together with the European Social Fund in 2014-20, is intended to be used for actions targeting young people under 25 (or if a Member States so decides, up to 29), primarily those not currently in employment, education or training (so-called NEETs), in regions where youth unemployment was over 25% in 2012. 20 Member States are eligible for Youth Employment Initiative funding, as they have such regions. By funding the direct provision of jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships, or continued education, the Youth Employment Initiative directly supports the implementation of national Youth Guarantee schemes.
Expenditure is eligible from 1 September 2013, meaning that funding can be backdated to then. National authorities need to submit operational programmes outlining measures to use Youth Employment Initiative funding for approval by the Commission, under the terms of the Regulations adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. So far, France's YEI-dedicated operational programme has been adopted by the Commission (IP/14/622) and Italy's draft YEI-dedicated operational programme is in the final stages of discussions with the Commission. Other Member States including Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Poland and Sweden are also in the process of implementing projects to be financed by the Youth Employment Initiative.
The Commission's proposal for a Youth Guarantee was presented in December 2012 (see IP/12/1311 and MEMO/12/938), formally adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers on 22 April 2013 (see MEMO/13/152) and endorsed by the June 2013 European Council. The logic of the Youth Guarantee is very simple – to ensure that no young person is left unemployed or inactive for longer than four months. Under the Youth Guarantee, all young people under 25 should receive a good quality offer of employment, a traineeship, an apprenticeship or further education within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving education. Such a structural reform represents an investment in human capital.
All 28 Member States have submitted their Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans and are making the first steps to set up their Youth Guarantee schemes (details available here).
The European Social Fund, providing more than €10 billion every year in the 2014-2020 period, is the most significant source of EU funding to implement the Youth Guarantee.
To top up available EU financial support to the regions where individuals struggle most with youth unemployment and inactivity, the Council and the European Parliament agreed to create a dedicated financial tool – the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) - for Member States with regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25%. The YEI funding comprises €3 billion from a specific new EU budget line dedicated to youth employment (frontloaded to 2014-15) matched by at least €3 billion from Member States' European Social Fund allocations.
The Youth Employment Initiative is available to support individuals, especially NEETs, rather than to implement structural reforms (the latter being supported by the ESF). The YEI can be used to support activities including first job experience, provision of traineeships and apprenticeships, business start-up support for young entrepreneurs, quality vocational education and training, second-chance programmes for early school leavers and targeted wage and recruitment subsidies.
* Member States have to match these amounts by at least the same amounts from their European Social Fund allocation.
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