EU Youth and Employment policies: Find out what the European Union does !

The theme of this year's Agora has not been chosen by coincidence. Youth employment has always been of high importance to the European Parliament (EP). Over the last few years, the already fragile situation of young workers in the labour market has been worsened by the crisis. Youth unemployment rates have reached dramatic levels, some countries being hit harder than others. Youth employment is an issue mostly dealt with directly by member states as the European Union (EU) has little legislative competences in this area. However the EU and the EP in particular have always been a driving force in this field, since they have the ability to create dynamics and thus generate impetus. Since the beginning of the crisis, and in the framework of its overall Strategy for growth and jobs (the socalled EU 2020 Strategy), the European Union has been very active and has exploited all possibilities available to have its voice heard on the subject. The European Commission has put forward several proposals addressing youth employment, on which the European Parliament has given its views by adopting formal positions known as 'Resolutions'. They aim at finding solutions by working on the following areas, namely: - reducing early school leaving; - modernising education and training (including vocational training); - facilitating access to the labour market; - promoting mobility; and - ensuring a better use of EU funds for activities tackling youth unemployment. However, having a job is not enough: young people have the right to have decent jobs. This is why the European Parliament has called, many times, for improvements in this field too, as numbers have shown that young workers are overrepresented in temporary contract posts or low-pay jobs. For example, it is mainly the European Parliament's efforts that have led to the adoption of the 'Youth Guarantee Scheme'. This instrument, when implemented, should ensure that no young person is without a job or training for longer than 4 months after leaving school. Specific funds have been allocated to this aim and particular focus will be given to youth employment when using the structural funds. In its Resolution, Parliament has also stressed that in its view young people should first receive a personalised assessment of their needs, followed up with specific tailored services, and that the Youth Guarantee should be accompanied by a 'quality framework'. This is only one example of a concrete initiative of the EU in the field. Many others are taking place; you will find them below in the list of the main pieces of referenced legislation. In the context of the new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 and given the funds allocated to fight youth unemployment, we hope that our Agora can bring valuable input to tackling this issue in the future.

Overview of EU Youth Policy The European Parliament and the Council adopted on 15 November 2006 the Decision establishing the "Youth in action" programme for the period 2007-2013. http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/youth/ The EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018): the European Commission presented on 27 April 2009 a Communication entitled ‘An EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering. A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities’. This is an important step within the development of youth policy, as the documents sets out a new EU strategy for cooperation on youth issues for the coming decade, covering areas such as education, employment, creativity and entrepreneurship, health and sport, and civic participation. http://ec.europa.eu/youth/documents/youth_report_final.pdf The Commission's communication of April 2009 was endorsed by a Council resolution on ‘A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field for the next decade (2010-2018)’, that was adopted on 27 November 2009. http://ec.europa.eu/youth/pdf/doc1648_en.pdf The European Parliament took a political position on the EU Youth Strategy. Based on the Commission's communication of April 2009, the CULT Committee drafted an own-initiative report (Papanikolaou) on ‘An EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering’: it was adopted by CULT on 23 March 2010; the motion for a resolution was adopted by the EP in its plenary session on 18 May 2010. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2010-166 As the Council resolution of November 2009 required an EU Youth Report to be drawn up at the end of each three-year cycle, the Commission presented on 10 September 2012 a Communication on the ‘Draft 2012 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (EU Youth Strategy 2010-2018)’. http://ec.europa.eu/youth/documents/eu_youth_report_communication/eu_youth_report_2012_communicat ion_en.pdf The Culture and Education Committee, as responsible committee and the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and the Regional Development Committee as committees asked for opinions, have reacted to the progress made so far and to the future priorities of the EU Youth Strategy, as underlined in the joint report of the Council and the Commission. Based on the Commission's report of September 2012, the Culture and Education Committee drafted an own-initiative report (Papanikolaou) on the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy 2010-2012. This own-initiative report was adopted by the Culture and Education Committee on 18 June 2013.

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Overview of Employment policy for Youth Youth (un)employment is a main priority of the European Parliament. From the outset of the crisis, the Parliament, in a number Resolutions, has constantly called on the European Commission and the Member States to urgently act on the increasingly dramatic development of youth unemployment in many Member States. In July 2010, Parliament adopted a Report on "Promoting youth access to the labour market, strengthening trainee, internship and apprenticeship status" http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2010-0262&language=EN In reaction to a proposal by the European Commission on the Europe 2020 Strategy and the corresponding so-called "flagship initiative" called "Youth on the Move", the Parliament in May 2011 adopted "Youth on the Move: a framework for improving Europe's education and training systems" http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-20110230&language=EN&ring=A7-2011-0169 As a follow-up to earlier initiatives and in particular Youth on the Move, the European Commission presented an action plan, in early 2012, called Youth Opportunities Initiative, on which the Parliament took a position in May 2012 in an Resolution together with an Oral Question to the Commission. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2012-0224&language=EN http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=OQ&reference=O-2012-000106&language=EN One measure consistently asked for by the Parliament, was the introduction of national Youth Guarantee schemes that guarantee young people a good-quality offer of employment, continued education or an apprenticeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving education. Moreover, EU funding was asked for, to facilitate the effective implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes. In a Youth Employment Package adopted in December 2012, the European Commission responded to this request by proposing a Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee to the Council. By means of a Resolution and an Oral Question to the Commission, the Parliament strongly supported this proposal in January 2013. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2013-0007&language=EN http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=OQ&reference=O-2012-000219&language=EN During the February 2013 meeting of the EPSCO Council, the Ministers of Employment Affairs of the member states reached a political agreement on the Youth Guarantee http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/135746.pdf and http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/13/st06/st06944.en13.pdf Also, the request from Parliament to back-up Youth Guarantee schemes with EU funding was addressed. As part of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 ("MFF"), the Heads of states and governments, during the February 2013 European Council, decided to allocate € 6 billion to the fight against youth unemployment. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/135344.pdf During the final negotiations on the MFF it was agreed to increase this to € 8 billion. At present the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament, assisted by the Culture and Education Committee, the Regional Development Committee and Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee, is working on a Report titled "Tackling youth unemployment: possible ways out" that inter alia calls for an effective implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes in the Member States. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bCOMPARL%2bPE-508.047%2b01%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN

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