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Combating youth unemployment was at the top of the EU leaders' agenda at the European Council meeting on 27 and 28 June in Brussels.
EU leaders agreed to mobilize efforts towards getting young people who are not in education, employment or training back to work or into education or training within four months as part of the initiative called Youth Guarantee.
The European Council also agreed on speeding up the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) so that it’s fully operational by January 2014. The YEI will give out the first funds in EU regions experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25%.
The mobility of young job seekers is going to be promoted by strengthening the Your First EURES Job programme and the Erasmus + programme, which also includes cross-border vocational training, should be fully operational from January 2014.
The high quality apprenticeships and work-based learning will also be promoted, through the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and the Quality Framework for Traineeships should be put into place in the beginning of 2014.
The Council also decided to give particular focus to youth employment when implementing the Structural Funds, which will include reprogramming unspent funds. The Commission and the Member States will exploit all possibilities offered by the European Social Fund (ESF), which is one of the main financial tools at EU level for this purpose, including through supporting the creation of new jobs for young workers.