Youth employment initiative granted €1bn funding for 2015

MEPs welcome extra funding but warn that it is now up to member states to take action.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

30 Apr 2015

MEPs have approved plans to make €1bn of funding available for the youth employment initiative (YEI) this year, a third of the project's total funding for 2014-2020. The initiative seeks to provide member states with the means to get young people - those under 25 years -into work through education, apprenticeships or traineeships.

YEI funding is made available to countries wishing to implement measures from the youth employment guarantee recommendations.

Youth unemployment in the EU currently stands at around 23 per cent, but in some countries such as Spain or Greece, nearly half of young people are out of work.


MEPs were delighted at the news, with parliament's rapporteur on the pre-financing for the YEI Elisabeth Morin-Chartier explaining, "by voting in favour of an increase is €1bn for the YEI, the parliament is finally paving the way to eradicating the scourge of youth unemployment".

She added that this move was "a clear signal to the heads of state and government to take action - the ball is now in their court".

The EPP group member was especially pleased that "this report has largely brought all the political groups together. We have set aside our differences and united our will to be effective and show that Europe will not abandon its youth".

Unfortunately, representatives from parliament's S&D group were not quite as enthusiastic, with Socialist spokesperson on employment and social affairs Jutta Steinruck saying, "we are still far from the moment when we can celebrate great results. Therefore, the fight against youth unemployment must remain our number one priority, with the pre-financing providing an initial impulse for member states".

S&D deputy Brando Benifei commented, "Europe is doing its part. Now it's time for the member states to act. We urge them to use all the resources made available with this programme, to provide quality opportunities for young people. We cannot afford to waste more time when the future of our youngsters is at stake".

Marian Harkin, ALDE group coordinator on parliament's employment and social affairs committee, underlined that "it is crucial that member states take all the measures possible to implement the youth guarantee and […] the European parliament has made it easier for them to deliver this important goal".

However, ALDE vice-coordinator on parliament's employment and social affairs committee Martina Dlabajova warned, "money alone cannot create jobs - jobs are created by the real needs of the economy. It's important that financing is complemented with labour market reforms at the national level".


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