Priorities for Europe: creating a more social Europe 

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EU laws have helped to improve people's lives in areas such as working time, parental leave, protection from discrimination and consumer and workplace safety. But some work still needs to be done. One of the priorities for MEPs is to create more jobs for young people as in Europe nearly one in five are out of work. Watch our video and read on to find out more about what Parliament is doing to make a difference.

Young people

The Youth Employment initiative was adopted in April 2013 to provide support to young people under 25 in regions where youth unemployment was higher than 25%. It focuses on those who are not in education, employment or training, including who have been unemployed for a long time or those not registered as job-seekers. The Commission later proposed to allocate more money to the initiative, which was welcomed by MEPs.  Currently it has a budget of € 8.4 billion.


Another initiative aimed at young people is the  European Solidarity Corps (ESC), which was launched in December 2016.  It allows young people aged 18 to 30 to volunteer or work on various projects in their own country or abroad. In October 2016, MEPs adopted a resolution asking the European Commission to assess the benefit of the initiative. They also want voluntary organisations to be involved with further developing it.


Benefits

The EU provides common rules to protect social security rights when moving within Europe (EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).However, these rules do not replace national systems. It is still up to countries to decide who is eligible for benefits.


On 13 December 2016 the Commission published a proposal to improve the current system, especially to ensure that people who do not work still have access to social benefits. Parliament's employment committee is responsible for drafting a recommendation to MEPs on it, which is expected to be ready in the second half of the year.


Disabilities

The European Commission proposed on 2 December 2015 a directive to reduce barriers to accessing education and employment as well as pariticipating in society for people with disabilities.This includes electronic devices, websites, audio-visual media services, certain aspects of transport services (for example. ticketing machines and travel information) and banking services (such as websites and online banking).


Danish ALDE member Morten Løkkegaard is responsible for steering the plans through Parliament. The internal market committee will vote on his report on 21 March.