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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Youth empowerment

28-06-2019

The proportion of young people (15-29 years old) in the general EU population is declining. On the whole, young people have a higher level of education than older adults, and youth unemployment rates have begun to decrease. Nevertheless, young people are still more exposed to poverty and social exclusion than other sections of the population. They are less prone to put their health at risk than previous generations. For instance, fewer young people smoke, get drunk, or become involved in a road accident ...

The proportion of young people (15-29 years old) in the general EU population is declining. On the whole, young people have a higher level of education than older adults, and youth unemployment rates have begun to decrease. Nevertheless, young people are still more exposed to poverty and social exclusion than other sections of the population. They are less prone to put their health at risk than previous generations. For instance, fewer young people smoke, get drunk, or become involved in a road accident than previously, but young people are still over-represented among those who are injured in road accidents. Obesity due to bad eating habits and lack of physical exercise is still an issue. Young people are also less likely to vote, or stand for election than older adults, but in recent years there has been a slight increase in interest in politics, political action and volunteering. Almost 80 % of young Europeans identify themselves as European citizens. In a Eurobarometer survey published in 2018 they placed education, skills and the environment at the top of a list of priorities for the EU. The European Union is engaged in helping Member States address young people's needs and aspirations through a youth strategy which covers areas such as employment, entrepreneurship, social inclusion, participation, education, training, health, wellbeing, voluntary activities, the global dimension, creativity and culture. The strategy is backed by a number of funding programmes that are specifically focused on young people, most notably the Youth Employment Initiative, Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. It also draws from funds directed at other specific policy areas. EU action in the area of youth empowerment is best known for the mobility opportunities it has created, in particular through Erasmus. Future challenges include reaching a wider spectrum of young people, especially those from disadvantaged and hard-to-reach groups, making the results of the consultative process, known as youth dialogue, more tangible, and improving synergies between policy areas for greater effectiveness. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against unemployment

28-06-2019

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions ...

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions have significantly improved in recent years, and most labour market indicators have strengthened steadily. Since mid-2013, the unemployment rate has continued to decline, and the EU is back to its pre-crisis level (6.5 % in February 2019). Despite the recovery in economic growth and its positive impact on the labour market, the EU still has to face unemployment challenges, particularly concerning differences between Member States, youth unemployment and long-term unemployment. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including to help young people enter the labour market, to combat long-term unemployment, upgrade skills, and facilitate workers' mobility in the European Union. The improvement in labour market indicators has been reflected in citizens' improved evaluation of the EU's involvement in the fight against unemployment, but there is still a very high demand for even more EU intervention in this policy area (76 % of EU citizens). In the future, new or updated legislation relating to employment could modernise work to help in adjustment to a digital world, support sustainable transitions from unemployment into employment and between jobs, increase labour mobility and create closer coordination between economic and social policies. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027

12-04-2019

The financial allocation for the European Commission proposal for a European Solidarity Corps programme is €1 260 million at current prices. Projected to offer opportunities for 350 000 18 to 30 year olds from 2021 to 2027, the programme is included under Heading 2 'Cohesion and Values' of the multiannual financial framework covering the same period. In its initial phases, the European Solidarity Corps suffered from unsuccessful branding and communication, as it came into direct competition with ...

The financial allocation for the European Commission proposal for a European Solidarity Corps programme is €1 260 million at current prices. Projected to offer opportunities for 350 000 18 to 30 year olds from 2021 to 2027, the programme is included under Heading 2 'Cohesion and Values' of the multiannual financial framework covering the same period. In its initial phases, the European Solidarity Corps suffered from unsuccessful branding and communication, as it came into direct competition with two similar programmes, the European Voluntary Service and the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative. The new proposal merges these programmes. The distinctive feature of the European Solidarity Corps today is that it brings together volunteering, traineeship and job opportunities for young people with a clear focus on solidarity projects and uses existing management structures to maximise focus on delivery and performance. In view of the importance of solidarity to the wider European project, and the potential of this programme to contribute towards this spirit, a report by Parliament's Culture and Education Committee adopted in plenary points out that the definition of solidarity should be the unifying principle in the programme's implementation. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Implementation of the Daphne programme and other funds aimed at fighting violence against women and girls

15-01-2019

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee reviews the effectiveness of European Union funding targeting the elimination of gender-based violence. It investigates the relevance of the priorities and actions funded, and the extent to which the results address programme objectives and provide direct support to victims of violence. The study concludes with policy recommendations on the priorities ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee reviews the effectiveness of European Union funding targeting the elimination of gender-based violence. It investigates the relevance of the priorities and actions funded, and the extent to which the results address programme objectives and provide direct support to victims of violence. The study concludes with policy recommendations on the priorities for the next cycle of EU funding for fighting violence against women and girls.

Autor externo

Birte BOOK, Meena FERNANDES, Zrinjka DOLIC

Algeria and the EU: Challenges before the elections

05-12-2018

Algeria will shortly be holding elections in April 2019 that will be crucial for its future. The country did, it is true, introduce constitutional reforms in response to the Arab Spring in the region, but whether or not President Bouteflika will have a fifth term in office is still the chief cause of the uncertainly hanging over the country. Although elderly now and in frail health, the President is still the glue binding Algeria’s political system together after its terrible civil war in the 1990s ...

Algeria will shortly be holding elections in April 2019 that will be crucial for its future. The country did, it is true, introduce constitutional reforms in response to the Arab Spring in the region, but whether or not President Bouteflika will have a fifth term in office is still the chief cause of the uncertainly hanging over the country. Although elderly now and in frail health, the President is still the glue binding Algeria’s political system together after its terrible civil war in the 1990s. In this context, the Algerian equation remains a complex one with three unknown factors (youth, climate and migration) that may shape short and medium-term prospects. Algeria has a high number of young people and constant growth is needed for them to find jobs on the labour market. Young people are still not particularly engaged in Algeria’s political system and little is known about their preferences. Climate warming is a second unknown: it will have major consequences for the area and will probably push both Algeria’s population and people in the wider Sahelian region towards coastal towns, making investment in sustainable urban planning and suitable public services essential. Lastly, demographic dynamics, both as regards the country’s own population and how migration affects it, constitute an important challenge for the future. These concerns place Algeria firmly in its regional context where it plays a central role in the conflicts in the western Sahara, in relation to Libya, and in the Sahel. Algeria is also a vital partner in the fight against international terrorism. The country’s economic situation still needs to be watched: Algeria’s economy is coming under pressure from fluctuating energy prices. The Algerian authorities agree that reforms are needed but they are difficult to bring in when the State is facing a fall in revenue. The European Union is Algeria’s main trade partner and the Association Agreement provides a framework for further developing trade relations. The two partners recently opened discussions on Algeria’s tariff barriers as they do not seem to be heading in the right direction.

Revising the Visa Information System

15-11-2018

The Commission aims to upgrade the visa information system to allow for more thorough background checks on visa applicants, close security information gaps and ensure full interoperability with other EU-wide databases. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal observes that the impact assessment is underpinned by several stakeholder consultations and external studies. The Commission seems to be transparent about data limitations. However, the problem descriptions ...

The Commission aims to upgrade the visa information system to allow for more thorough background checks on visa applicants, close security information gaps and ensure full interoperability with other EU-wide databases. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal observes that the impact assessment is underpinned by several stakeholder consultations and external studies. The Commission seems to be transparent about data limitations. However, the problem descriptions are not always clear or convincing. In addition, considering the partly highly sensitive issues at hand, such as the fingerprinting of minors, the safeguards for fundamental rights protection in cases of errors or abuse could have been better explained.

Migration from Central America

25-10-2018

Although not a new phenomenon, migration flows from Central America, in particular from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (also called the Northern Triangle of Central America, NTCA), have grown exponentially since 2014, with a considerable increase in the number of adults and a huge one in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the borders. And the ‘caravan’ of Central American migrants that has recently reached Mexico on its way to the US border has again turned public and media attention ...

Although not a new phenomenon, migration flows from Central America, in particular from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (also called the Northern Triangle of Central America, NTCA), have grown exponentially since 2014, with a considerable increase in the number of adults and a huge one in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the borders. And the ‘caravan’ of Central American migrants that has recently reached Mexico on its way to the US border has again turned public and media attention towards this silent exodus. The push factors that have been fuelling migration from these countries include poverty, unemployment and under-employment, rampant crime and violence – in particular gang violence – but also institutional weakness and corruption. The pull factors include family re-unification, migrants' perceptions of more permissive immigration laws in destination countries, and the existence of well-organised smuggling networks. Their main destination countries are the United States and Mexico, but other neighbouring countries such as Belize and Costa Rica are receiving growing numbers of NTCA migrants, as are some European countries, including Spain, Italy and France. Countries of origin, transit and destination have set up new instruments for alleviating the problem, such as Mexico´s Southern Border Programme, and the regional Alliance for Prosperity, which have produced mixed results. International organisations, such as the EU and the United Nations, have been providing help, and the European Parliament has also expressed its concern on the situation of these migrants and their human rights.

European Solidarity Corps

12-10-2018

The Commission launched the European Solidarity Corps in a December 2016 communication, and the present proposal for a regulation would set its legal basis, define the budgetary and implementation arrangements, specify objectives and define key terms. The Corps would have a volunteering strand on the one hand and a smaller occupational strand (traineeships and jobs) on the other. All placements focus on solidarity actions and will last between 2 to 12 months. The proposal set a target of 100 000 ...

The Commission launched the European Solidarity Corps in a December 2016 communication, and the present proposal for a regulation would set its legal basis, define the budgetary and implementation arrangements, specify objectives and define key terms. The Corps would have a volunteering strand on the one hand and a smaller occupational strand (traineeships and jobs) on the other. All placements focus on solidarity actions and will last between 2 to 12 months. The proposal set a target of 100 000 participants, with a proposed budget of €341.5 million, for the 2018-2020 period. In its resolution on the issue in April 2017, the European Parliament had insisted that the initiative should not drain other programmes. Notwithstanding that, the Commission proposed that only 25 % of the budget would be new money. Parliament reiterated its position in its resolution of July 2017 and again in the report adopted by the CULT committee ahead of trilogue negotiations. Council, however, came to the negotiating table seeking a budget that was totally dependent on redeployments. Finally, the European Parliament negotiators managed to secure €76 million (20 %) fresh money, complemented by a redistribution that favours volunteering more strongly, and the inclusion of safeguards to avoid exploitation for profit-making purposes. The new regulation entered into force on 5 October 2018. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European Solidarity Corps

05-09-2018

The European Parliament is due to vote during its September plenary session on a legislative proposal on the legal framework of the European Solidarity Corps. The Corps offers opportunities to young people between 18 and 30 years old to take up placements lasting between two months and a year. The initiative covers all the EU Members States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey and the Republic of North Macedonia.

The European Parliament is due to vote during its September plenary session on a legislative proposal on the legal framework of the European Solidarity Corps. The Corps offers opportunities to young people between 18 and 30 years old to take up placements lasting between two months and a year. The initiative covers all the EU Members States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey and the Republic of North Macedonia.

Research for CULT Committee - Erasmus+: Towards a New Programme Generation

12-06-2018

This study was commissioned by the CULT committee of the European Parliament as a general reflection on the performance of the Erasmus+ programme so far. The study provides a complement to the European Commission mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+. This current project examines 1) the outcomes of Erasmus+ so far, notably focussing on the implementation experiences in using Erasmus+ in 10 Member States, 2) the decision-making procedures used in the programme, highlighting how delegated and implementing ...

This study was commissioned by the CULT committee of the European Parliament as a general reflection on the performance of the Erasmus+ programme so far. The study provides a complement to the European Commission mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+. This current project examines 1) the outcomes of Erasmus+ so far, notably focussing on the implementation experiences in using Erasmus+ in 10 Member States, 2) the decision-making procedures used in the programme, highlighting how delegated and implementing acts have been used to date, and 3) the Commission mid-term evaluation conclusions. These aspects are all drawn together to arrive at a series of key findings and recommendations which can be considered as adjustments for the Erasmus+ programme during its next programme cycle.

Autor externo

Panteia: Paul Vroonhof, Amber van der Graaf; Ockham IPS: Bert-Jan Buiskool

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