EZA MAGAZINE

Reinforced European Youth Guarantee against youth unemployment after COVID-19

Cindy Franssen (EPP) on new measures to combat youth unemployment.

Cindy Franssen (MEP)

The European Parliament voted in favour of a reinforced European Youth Guarantee during the October II plenary session. In a resolution, the members of European Parliament urged the Member States to ensure that young people who register for the Youth Guarantee are offered quality, diverse and tailored jobs, training or internships.

This Youth Guarantee was established in 2013 as a reaction to the high youth unemployment after the economic crisis of 2008. In June 2020, the European Commission launched a new proposal to reinforce the Youth Guarantee, on which the parliament now takes its position.

The Youth Guarantee is a political commitment of the Member States to offer young people between 15 and 24 years a job, training or internship, within four months after they stopped with their education or became unemployed. The results of the Youth Guarantee are impressive. Since 2014, more than 5 million young people made use of the Youth Guarantee on a yearly basis, of which more than 3.5 million accepted the offer. The European unemployment rate decreased from 24% in 2013 to 14% in 2019 and the percentage of 15 to 24 years old that do not have a job or are not in education (NEET’s) has decreased from 13.2% in 2012 to 10.3% in 2018.

Yet the system still had some teething problems. To respond to this, the European Parliament made now some proposals. Member of European Parliament Cindy Franssen (EPP Group) was one of the negotiators: “The age limit has been raised to 29 years in the Commission’s proposal, which is important to me. Especially after this corona epidemic, we must protect our young people as much as possible. That is why I argue for higher quality criteria for the offers in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Green Deal and the digital transformation. We are also focusing on better monitoring of young people, more and more diverse offers for disadvantaged groups and a strengthened cooperation between the providers of the youth guarantee and the social partners”, said Cindy Franssen.

With the resources for the Youth Guarantee going to be integrated into the renewed European Social Fund (ESF +), and therefore in danger having less attention, Parliament is calling for all Member States to invest 3% of their ESF + resources in youth unemployment. Member States that are above the EU average for NEETs or above 15% NEETs must spend 15% of their ESF + resources on the Youth Guarantee. Cindy Franssen: "In this way we ensure that tackling youth unemployment remains an important priority in all EU Member States and that no young people are left out."

(Nathan Duhayon)