Youth unemployment: spending more and wiser for better results
- More EU and national efforts needed to reduce youth unemployment
- Focus on young people not in education, training and employment
- Better monitoring to become more efficient
Both the EU and its Member States need to step up their efforts to tackle youth unemployment, still unacceptably high in parts of Europe, budget control MEPs say.
The Youth Guarantee (YG) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) have been in place since 2013. Since 2014 and until 2020, they are providing more than EUR € 8 billion of EU funding to combat youth unemployment and have contributed to a decrease in the number of jobless young people. However, MEPs regret that one in five young people were still unemployed in the EU in mid-2016. In Greece and Spain, the number still lingers above 40%.
To increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the support schemes, MEPs suggest that:
- the main focus is placed on NEETS, young people not in employment, education or training
- The European Social Fund, as well as Member States, should make more funds available
- public employment services should share best practices and get better at supporting young people who have the hardest time finding a job
- Member States should agree on what constitutes a “quality offer” to unemployed young people
- the Commission and the Member States should set up an up-to-date monitoring system that allows for a better assessment of the progress achieved.
- the Commission should provide more precise information and an annual report on the cost-effectiveness of the YG and how the implementation of the programme is monitored in the Member States.
Earlier in September, MEPs granted an additional 500 million euros to fight youth unemployment.
Rapporteur Derek Vaughan (S&D, UK) said: “Despite the economic upswing, young people in the EU are still struggling to find jobs. The EU has already achieved a lot, but we must do more. Not only do we need to gear up our efforts financially, but better sharing of good practices and better monitoring of spending is needed. Member States must use available support and dedicate more national resources to tackle this ongoing issue.”
The committee adopted the resolution with 15 votes to 1, with 3 abstentions. The full house is expected to vote on the report at the October II part-session.
The Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months from becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. The Youth Employment Initiative is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of YG schemes. It was launched to provide support to young people living in the regions where youth unemployment was higher than 25% in 2012.
According to the European Commission, since 2013 the YEI has provided direct support to over 1.6 million young people. 16 million young people have entered YG schemes since January 2014. 10 million young people took up an offer, the majority of which were offers of employment.
According to Eurofound, annual investment required to implement the YG in Europe is estimated at € 50.4 billion. On the other hand, annual economic losses caused by young people disengaging from the labour market in Europe could reach at least € 153 billion.
Related country-by-country information can be downloaded here.
The draft report follows up on several reports by the European Court of Auditors, the latest of which finds that “limited progress and results which fall short of expectations with regard to providing a good quality offer to all NEETs”.