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Brussels, 7 October 2014
European Commission to press for adequate funding for jobs at Milan employment summit, 8 October
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will press EU leaders to live up to their budget commitments at a special summit on employment in Milan on 8 October. He will underline the importance of the EU's €1 trillion budget to help fund practical and effective ways to combat unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, for example through the Youth Guarantee, to which all Member States have signed up. Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs László Andor, who will attend a meeting of EU labour ministers before the summit, will discuss ways to further accelerate and improve implementation of the Youth Guarantee. The summit is organised by the Italian Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers.
In advance of the all-day event, the third of its kind, President José Manuel Barroso said: "The Commission has been doing all it can to help Member States bring down unacceptably high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, including by dedicating billions of euros a year to jobs and skills via the European Social Fund and proposing a Youth Guarantee. Now Member State leaders need to ensure national plans to implement the Youth Guarantee are given the highest political priority. The President added: “At a time when we are discussing new ways to promote investment, our top priority must be to use the money we have already earmarked to provide quality jobs, training, apprenticeships, further education or job-search assistance, especially for our young people. In other words, to give Europeans hope for the future. For this to happen, Member States need to deliver on their EU budget commitments."
Commissioner László Andor commented: "The European Commission and Member States have been working hard to address youth unemployment and to make the Youth Guarantee a reality, and we are seeing the first results. Member States are introducing long-term structural reforms, for example to upgrade public employment services, and these efforts to implement the Youth Guarantee must continue. Financial support for the Youth Guarantee must be considered as a major investment for the future of Europe's economy and society as a whole."
The Youth Guarantee is both a structural reform to drastically improve school-to-work transitions and a measure to immediately support jobs for young people. Under the scheme, Member States should ensure that, within four months of leaving school or losing a job, young people under 25 can either find a good-quality job suited to their education, skills and experience or acquire the education, skills and experience required to find a job in the future through an apprenticeship, a traineeship or continued education. All Member States have Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans and are already well advanced in putting them into practice.
Public employment services are key for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, by better matching people to jobs, up-skilling the workforce according to labour market needs and promoting cross-border mobility. The heads of Member States' public employment services will meet in Milan before the employment summit, following the recent launch of the Public Employment Services Network (see IP/14/1031), which was set up to identify best practices and improve coordination through mutual learning and peer-to-peer assistance programmes. They will also discuss the role of public employment services in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and table a paper for Labour Ministers and Heads of State and Government on the role of public employment services in the delivery of the Youth Guarantee.
The EU budget: supporting jobseekers and companies
The EU's 2014-20 budget is a €1 trillion fund for growth. At a time when we are discussing new ways to promote investment in Europe, Member States should stand by the level of payments they have agreed under the budget, as President Barroso wrote in his recent letter to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (see MEMO/14/550). Unless there is a top-level political decision to return to what was agreed in the 2014-20 budget, the Commission will not be able to launch all of these new programmes for jobs and growth.
The EU's main fund to help Member States to tackle unemployment is the European Social Fund (ESF), worth over €10 billion every year. Member States are planning to spend over €40 billion from the ESF in the 2014-20 period on measures to support implementation of the Youth Guarantee (including access to employment, improving public employment services and education). The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), worth €6.4 billion in 2014-15, is available to top-up ESF money in Member States where regional youth unemployment rates exceed 25% (currently 20 countries), to help implement the Youth Guarantee.
Under the European Regional Development Fund, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which provide two out of three private sector jobs, will double from €70 billion to €140 billion over the next seven years.
The budget offers more young people than ever before the opportunity to study abroad, with an envelope of almost €15 billion over seven years for Erasmus+ (more than 40% higher than current levels).
Additional initiatives to support the Youth Guarantee
The provision of apprenticeships is one of the options in the Youth Guarantee. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships was launched in July 2013 to help boost the quality, supply and attractiveness of apprenticeships across Europe. Around 40 organisations and 22 Member States have made commitments to increase the quantity, quality and supply of apprenticeships. Funding to support these pledges is available through the EU budget, while the European Investment Bank provides loans through its new "Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth" programme.
The Quality Framework for Traineeships (see IP/14/236) is a Commission initiative, agreed by the Council in March 2014, to enable trainees to acquire high-quality work experience under safe and fair conditions, and to increase their chances of finding a good quality job. New guidelines will improve conditions for trainees, for example by requiring a written traineeship agreement covering educational objectives and working conditions, and whether trainees will be paid or qualify for social security.
The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, launched in March 2013, was created by the Commission to address the shortage of ICT professionals in Europe (which could reach almost 1 million by 2020). So far we have received 57 pledges from large and small companies, educational institutions and NGOs to set up training schemes and internships, while 8 Member States have launched national coalitions.
For over 20 years the pan-European job search network EURES has helped European jobseekers to find a job in another Member State, giving them access to over 2 million job vacancies and employers access to 80,000 CVs. The EURES reform proposed in 2014 would increase the number of job vacancies and CVs, introduce automatic matching of vacancies and CVs and improve the services and information offered to all jobseekers and employers, for example, assistance with job applications or guidance on recruiting abroad (see IP/14/26).