Parliament aims to reinvigorate European Youth Initiative

  
laszlo Andor
László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion speaking at the International Labour Conference. Geneva, 9 June. [ILO/Flickr]

Unemployment rates in Europe have not fallen, despite the European Youth Initiative coming into force in January 2014. MEPs have raised the alarm, and called for greater financial resources. EurActiv France reports.

Although the EU allocated an extra €6 billion to tackle youth unemployment in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 25 %, still not much has changed.

The European Youth Initiative (YEI) is designed to help EU member states improve national policies to tackle youth unemployment, which has reached unprecedented levels in some countries since the start of the economic crisis.

The MEPs criticised the YEI, and on 17 July adopted a resolution (522 votes in favour, 112 votes against and 22 abstentions) calling on the European Commission and member states to do more.

Youth unemployment rates are not falling

“This resolution reminds state leaders and the European Commission that the budget, and measures put in place for youth employment, should not just be communication tools aimed at (a) struggling majority,” said French MEP, Jérôme Lavrilleux.

There is cause for concern. Youth unemployment has reached a European average of 23%, and is over 50% in Spain and Greece. Approximately 5.3 million Europeans under 25 are without work.

The European Parliament called for a “European legal framework, introducing minimum standards for the implementation of the youth guarantees, including the quality of apprenticeships, decent wages for young people and access to employment services.”

The MEPs attacked the lack of financial resources for the European Youth Initiative: “The €6 billion allocated to the YEI are not sufficient to combat youth unemployment in a lasting manner.” They want a greater budget for the 2014-2020 periods.

Sluggish

The lack of funds is not the Parliament’s only criticism, which calls on the European Commission to “accelerate the establishment of the Youth Employment Initiative and to publish a communication on how it has been established before the end of 2014.”

Putting the initiative in place remains a challenge in some countries. “11 out of the 20 eligible member states have officially submitted Operational Programmes covering the Youth Employment Initiative-related actions. 7 member mtates have not yet done so,” said EU Commissioner for employment and social affair, remarked László Andor, on 16 July.

“We cannot afford to delay the implementation of such a crucial initiative,” he added.

Currently, only two member states have received funds through the YEI.

France was the first member state to receive the Commission funds, followed by Italy after its strategy was given the green light on 11 July. Italy will receive the second highest amount form the YEI (over €530 million).

The member states have also criticised the EU’s approach to tackling youth unemployment.  Angela Merkel admitted during the EU's Council summit on 25-26 June that the EU's Youth Employment Initiative had so far been a failure.

"I'm not pointing my finger at anyone, but nobody is able to understand why this is happening. It's not really worth saying... Again, I'm not blaming the Commission, the member states... I'm just saying that the result is such that we need to change this," the German Chancellor said.

The French Labour Ministry shared this feeling: “Faced with the urgency and amplitude of the fight against youth unemployment in Europe and France, we can only share in Germany’s frustration that there are not more projects that encourage professional integration in eligible member states.”

Merkel admits EU's youth unemployment initiative has been a failure on EurActiv

Merkel admits EU's youth unemployment initiative has been a failure

More on EurActiv »

Priority for next mandate

The Commission’s new President, Jean-Claude Juncker, put the fight against youth unemployment at the top top of his political guidelines, which he presented to the European Parliament on 15 July.

“The right kind of debt would be a huge investment in training and future jobs. It is our best weapon to fight against youth unemployment. It is a commitment undertaken by Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the Commission, during his address to the European Parliament,” said Karima Delli, French MEP.

The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg said in his guidelines that he intended to “present, within the first three months of my mandate and in the context of the Europe 2020 review, an ambitious Jobs, Growth and Investment Package,” more financial resources “channelled towards projects that can help get the younger generation back to work in decent jobs” and finally, to accelerate and increase the scope of the youth guarantee.

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Comments

an european's picture

This will be possible with an adequate budget at E.U. level !
If nationals don't want well then let's do themselves !
Juncker already spoke about clusterization but without an E.U. treasury !!!
I think last year I post on Euractiv that on national level it's not possible to tackle that problem !
Still a Stupidity of Intergovernementalism to tackle the economy problem !!
Here it seems we continue the path of sickness instead of at least some federal policies at least for the economy and jobs .
But why and for what waiting ???
If not then Juncker could however clusterize the strong currency again in 18!
Either the one or the other but not between !
Where is the problem to pay a part of tax income to federal level if the problem can be solved and not "virtual" !

humber123's picture

Just more words, where is the action. There won't be any, fool, this is the Eurozone we are talking about, dummy. (Yes they don't do anything either).

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