Brussels cast doubts on French Youth Initiative

youth unemplyment

France's Youth Employment Initiative aims to provide assistance to 100,000 'NEET' youth by 2016. [Margot Gabel/Flickr]

Funding from the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative in France was given the green light, but the European Commission has not let up on its criticism of the French version of the scheme. EURACTIV France reports.

The French programme to promote youth employment has received the Commission’s blessings, of sorts.

France is the first country to benefit from its part of the €6 billion from the European Union to help fight youth unemployment in the worse hit regions. Their share will amount to €620 million for 2014 and 2015.

The European funds aim to reinforce initiatives to promote youth employment put in place by the French government, such as the Youth Guarantee, or “second chance” education.

“France is the third largest benefactor state, behind Spain and Italy”, boasted the French Minister of Labour, François Rebsamen.

>> Read: France to jumpstart Youth Unemployment Initiative funding

But even though France secured the EU funds, the European Commission has criticised the efficiency of national measures.

“Public services to promote youth employment (called ‘local missions’) are having difficulties proposing appropriate services to job-seekers,” emphasised the EU Commission in its recommendations on France’s 2014 national reform programme, issued on 2 June.

According to the Commission, the measures taken by the French government to deliver the Youth Guarantee are “insufficient”.

“The actual quality of this support, which includes CV-writing workshops and interview simulations, is unclear at this stage. Moreover, this guarantee only tackles a minor part of the overall youth unemployment, as there are 674,000 young people registered in total,” the Commission states.

Currently, the French Youth Guarantee supports just 10,000 young people between 18-25 who are not working, studying or training (NEET). From October 2014, 20,000 more people should be able to benefit from the scheme. The scheme will eventually encompass the whole of France by 2016. The aim is eventually to support 100,000 young French job seekers per year. Even if the French scheme reaches its target figures, it will only aid a minority of NEET youth, in France.

The Commission highlights failures in coordination mechanisms between different Youth Guarantee actors. “France has not introduced one-stop shops providing a single information point,” the recommendations say.

Adopted in February 2013, the pan-European Youth Guarantee scheme aims to support people under 25 to find a job, training programme or an internship in the first four months following school graduation, or becoming unemployed.

>> Read: Europe’s €8bn youth jobless fund meets scepticism

The Youth Employment Initiative was proposed by the 7-8 February 2013 European Council with a budget of €6 billion for the period 2014-20.

The Youth Employment Initiative would particularly support young people not in education, employment or training in the Union's regions with a youth unemployment rate in 2012 at above 25% by integrating them into the labour market.

The money under the Youth Employment Initiative would therefore be used to reinforce and accelerate measures outlined in the December 2012 Youth Employment Package.

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