More people and regions will benefit from the EU Youth Employment Initiative thanks to amendments voted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Tuesday. This initiative is to give effect to the "youth guarantee", whereby any young person in the EU who has been unemployed for more than four months is to be offered a job, training or an apprenticeship.
The committee widened the proposal's scope by voting amendments to the European Social Fund regulation and further amendments, for opinion, to the general regulation on the structural funds.
"I welcome this concrete expression of the youth guarantee, for which Parliament has called time and again. Faced with a youth unemployment rate averaging 23.7% in the EU, we had to act urgently to avoid sacrificing a whole generation to the crisis", said rapporteur on the ESF Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE, FR). "Concentrating actions on the regions hardest hit by unemployment represents a real breath of fresh air", she added.
Young people under 30
MEPs amended the European Commission's initial proposal to extend this measure to young people under 30, including graduates and those who left the education system without any qualifications. The Commission proposed to target young people under 25.
Regions with an unemployment rate above 20%
All regions in the "NUTS 2" category (of the EU structural funds' Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) that had youth unemployment rates above 20% in 2012 would be eligible for Youth Employment Initiative help, according to amendments inserted by the committee. The European Commission had proposed to target regions with rates above 25%.
The committee's amendments will be negotiated by Parliament and the Council with a view to reaching a first-reading agreement.
According to the European Commission proposal, the Youth Employment Initiative would be allocated a €6 billion budget for 2014-2020, €3 billion of which would come from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the other half from cohesion policy. However, these figures are subject to an agreement being reached on the EU's long-run budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework.
Procedure: co-decision, first reading
In the chair: Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR)