With unemployment now affecting nearly one in four young Europeans, the EU is looking at ways to get them working again. This Monday Parliament will debate a youth guarantee schemes that entitles young people to either work, training or education after having been unemployed for four months. It has been proposed by the Commission, which during Monday's debate will provide MEPs with more information on how it would work and how it would be funded.
Youth guarantee scheme
The Commission proposes that all under 25s should receive a quality offer of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The scheme would be financially supported by the European Social Fund and integrated into the employment policies of every member state according to its needs. Member states would also need to establish partnerships with stakeholders and ensure early intervention by employment services.
EP president Martin Schulz spoke out in favour of the youth guarantee scheme during a speech to the Council on 13 December 2012: "Our shared responsibility must be to ensure that the crisis does not rob young Europeans of their future." He added: "Given the disastrous level of youth unemployment in Europe, the youth job guarantee is vitally important." Mr Schulz also welcomed the Irish presidency making the scheme a priority.
In Greece and Spain more than 55% of young people were unemployed in 2011 and for the EU as a whole this was 21% (which equals about 5.5 million young people). This is twice as much as the unemployment rate for people over 25 in most member states and this has dramatically increased over the last four years. Only 30 % of the unemployed aged 15-24 in 2010 found a job in 2011, a drop of almost 10 % in just three years.
In 2011 7.5 million people in the EU aged between 15-24 were not in employment, education or training. This costs more than €150 billion each year, while the total cost of establishing a youth guarantee scheme would only be €21 billion.
French Social Democrat MEP Pervenche Berès will ask the Commission about funding and implementation of the youth guarantee scheme on Monday afternoon.