In “Employment and Social Affairs - EMPL”

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Since the onset of the economic crisis, the European Parliament has strongly supported the creation of a Youth Guarantee scheme, which was finally adopted in April 2013 as the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

In its 6 July 2010 resolution (2009/2221(INI)), Parliament suggests that the Council and the European Commission come forward with a European Youth Guarantee securing the right of every young person in the EU to be offered a job, an apprenticeship, additional training or combined work and training after a maximum period of four months' unemployment. On 24 May 2012, Parliament welcomed the European Commission's initiative to promote a Youth Guarantee initiative and to allocate €4 million to Member States to help them set up Youth Guarantee schemes. However, it expressed doubts as to whether this sum was ambitious enough to help countries facing high rates of unemployment coupled with national budget constraints put in place these types of guarantees. (2012/2617(RSP)).

On 16 January 2013, Parliament called on the Member States' ministers for employment and social affairs to agree on a Council recommendation, during the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council in February 2013, aimed at implementing Youth Guarantee schemes in all Member States. It emphasises that the Youth Guarantee is not a job guarantee but an instrument ensuring that all young EU citizens and legal residents up to the age of 25 years, and recent graduates under 30 years old, receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education or apprenticeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. Members underlined that Youth Guarantee schemes should be eligible for specific forms of European funding, especially in the Member States with the highest youth unemployment rates (2012/2901(RSP)).

Agreed by the Council in April 2013, the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) aims to help Member States improve national policies in combating youth unemployment in regions where it exceeds 25 %, and in particular focuses on young people who are not in education, employment or training (the 'NEETs') up to the age of 25 years (and not 30 years old, as proposed by Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL)). It is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes in the period 2014-2020.

The total budget of the Youth Employment Initiative (for all eligible EU Member States) is €8.8 billion for the period 2014-2020. The initial budget of 2014-2015 was €6.4 billion; however, in September 2016, given the still high levels of youth unemployment, the Commission proposed to increase this budget. In June 2017, the Council and the Parliament agreed to an increase of the YEI by €2.4 billion for eligible Member States for the period 2017-2020

To boost the scheme, the European Commission offered exceptionally to increase the YEI pre-financing rate in 2015 from 1 % to 30 %, thereby allowing an increase in pre-financing of around €1 billion. The European Parliament had adopted its position at its plenary sitting of 29 April 2015 (approving the proposal without amendment, by 632 votes to 30, with 31 abstentions) and the Council adopted the act on 15 May 2015.This made it possible for the 20 Member States participating in the YEI to receive a third of the €3.2 billion allocation immediately after the adoption of their operational programmes and to make this funding available through advance payments for projects.

On 7 March 2016, the Council endorsed the key messages on the way forward for the Youth Guarantee post-2016. This contribution is due to serve as an input to the European Commission's report on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative (see below), as well as to designing the future of the Youth Employment Initiative after 2016.

In October 2016, the Commission issued a report on the implementation of the youth employment initiative. The report presents findings on the progress so far, showing that young people's labour market performance in the EU has overall surpassed expectations with 1.4 million less young people unemployed in the EU than in 2013.

In December 2016, the Council adopted conclusions on the implementation of the youth employment initiative, welcoming the Commission's report. In their conclusions of the December European Council, leaders welcomed the increased support the youth employment initiative.

Given that the unemployment is still very high, the draft joint statement accompanying the compromise text reviewing the Multiannual Financial Framework - endorsed by the Council on 7 March 2017 - includes an additional amount of 1.2 billion euros for the YEI. On 5 April 2017, the European Parliament voted in favour of the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which allows for this additional funding.

On 6 December 2017, a draft report on ‘The implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative in the Member States’ has been adopted by 37 votes to 1 with 2 abstentions. On 21 December 2017, the Committee report was tabled for plenary for single reading. On 18 January 2018, it was debated and put to vote in plenary. A large majority voted in favour of adoption of a resolution calling for a Parliament resolution on the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative. It underlines the need to reach out to the most excluded young people, ensure that they receive good quality offers of employment, and that the Commission and Member States set realistic and achievable goals for the initiative. On 22 February 2018 the Parliament called for a substantial boost for the Youth Employment Initiative (doubling the current allocation).


Further reading:

Author: Marie Lecerf, Members' Research Service,

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As of 20/11/2019.