'Our young people need jobs and they need them now'

Cropped image taken from European Commission Youth Employment Initiative infographic, January 2015

On 4 February, the European Commission proposed making €1 billion from the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) available as early as 2015. This move would increase by up to 30 times the pre-financing that Member States are receiving to boost youth employment.

Funding the Youth Guarantee

All EU Member States are making substantial efforts to implement the Youth Guarantee and are currently putting programmes in place at national level. This proposed increase to YEI pre-financing could help make the Youth Guarantee a reality faster in the 20 Member States with youth unemployment rates over 25% in 2012.

The YEI will fund activities to help those young people aged under 25 (or 30 in some Member States) who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) enter the labour market. For instance, this can mean a first job experience, traineeships or apprenticeships, further education and training, hiring subsidies, second chance programmes for early school-leavers or business start-up support.

The €6.4 billion YEI funding is comprised of €3.2 billion from a new dedicated EU budget line to increase youth employment (frontloaded to the first two years of the Commission's 2014–2020 programming period) which is matched by at least €3.2 billion from the European Social Fund national allocations.

Why increase pre-financing of the YEI?

The new Juncker Commission has highlighted as a key priority a speedier Youth Guarantee implementation. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue said that with this new proposal ‘the Commission sends a clear signal that youth employment continues to be high on our political agenda.’

The initial pre-financing of 1% of the total YEI allocation (or 1.5% for Member States receiving financial assistance) has proved insufficient, leading to delays in implementing national programmes. The accelerated funding would increase the pre-financing rate to up to 30%, meaning that Member States could receive a third of the allocated €3.2 billion YEI funding once their operational programmes are adopted. In 2014, 28 out of the 34 operational programmes containing YEI funding have been adopted. The remaining four have been finalised and are pending adoption. It is estimated that up to 650,000 young people in the EU could benefit from the funding in 2015.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said:

Our young people need jobs and they need them now. It is unacceptable that today more than one young person out of five on the labour market cannot find a job. By making more funding available sooner, we can get more young people back to work: I am determined to make this happen.

The European Parliament and the Council will now have to discuss the Commission’s proposal and adopt it before it can enter into force.

Need to help young people

Eurofound has estimated the loss to European economies of having 7.5 million NEETs at €162 billion in 2012. The failure to secure a job is delaying their transition into adulthood and preventing them from achieving economic independence.

On 29 January, Eurofound participated in the seminar ‘Youth Guarantee: From regional to local implementation’ in Brussels, organised by the European Association of Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL). Representatives from five local authorities in different Member States shared their early experiences of Youth Guarantee implementation. Across the majority of interventions, stakeholder cooperation in delivery, guidance and outreach activities, functioning VET systems and dual training provisions were highlighted as important components of putting Youth Guarantee measures in place.

Further information

Read the European Commission press release, 4 February 2015

European Commission fact sheet: Accelerated pre-financing for the Youth Employment Initiative: Questions and answers

See also Youth Employment Initiative funding map (4.8 MB PDF)

Download Eurofound publications:

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