Brussels, 9 September 2014
Youth Guarantee: Commission reviews 18 pilot projects
The European Commission is meeting with the coordinators of 18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects at a seminar in Brussels today. The meeting will review achievements and lessons learned. The pilot projects represent concrete ways of putting the Youth Guarantee into practice by for example reinforcing links between employers and schools and by upgrading support to young people from public employment services (for details see MEMO/14/521).
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, said: "The Youth Guarantee is a structural reform which requires Member States to improve their youth employment policy on all levels. The pilot projects show that this approach works and brings results. The Youth Guarantee is proving to be the most rapidly implemented EU structural reform. The Commission directly works with all Member States to ensure the full and rapid implementation of the Youth Guarantee."
18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects were launched between August and December 2013 and each run for around 12 months. These projects are currently being implemented in seven countries: Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of the projects is to provide Member States with practical relevant experience for implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes and for related actions using the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative.
A Youth Guarantee Recommendation was formally adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers on 22 April 2013 (see MEMO/13/152) on the basis of a proposal made by the Commission in December 2012 (see IP/12/1311 and MEMO/12/938) and was endorsed by the June 2013 European Council. Under the Youth Guarantee Member States should ensure that, within four months of leaving school or losing a job, young people can either find a job suited to their education, skills and experience or acquire the education, skills and experience required to find a job in the future.
All 28 Member States have submitted Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans and are taking steps to set up their Youth Guarantee schemes (details available here). The 18 pilot Youth Guarantee projects were set up following a request in 2012 from the European Parliament.
The European Social Fund, with more than €10 billion available to Member States every year in the 2014-2020 period, will be the main source of EU funding to implement the Youth Guarantee. Implementation of the Youth Guarantee is identified as a high priority in the Partnership Agreements adopted so far with 16 Member States on using European Structural and Investment Funds in the 2014-20 period (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, France, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary). The other Member States' Partnership Agreements are under consideration by the Commission.
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 €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) to help Member States with regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25% to implement the Youth Guarantee. The 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 YEI amplifies support provided by the European Social Fund for implementation of the Youth Guarantee by funding activities to directly help young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) aged up to 25 years, or where the Member States considers relevant, up to 29 years. YEI money can be used for measures such as hiring subsidies and support for young people starting a business. It can also be used to give young people their first job experience and to provide traineeships, apprenticeships, further education and training.
20 Member States are eligible for YEI funding, as they have regions where youth unemployment is over 25%. These funds are programmed as part of the European Social Fund in 2014-20 and expenditure is eligible from 1 September 2013, so that funding can be backdated to last year. National authorities need to submit Operational Programmes outlining measures to use YEI money for approval by the Commission. Two YEI-related Operational Programmes have been adopted by the Commission - France (IP/14/622) and Italy (IP/14/826). Preparations in other Member States are well under way.
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