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This week, the EU Commission presented a Communication, in which it outlined the most significant successes of both the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) since they were started in 2013. In view of certain progress that has been made, the Commission has proposed to continue the initiative and to make additional funds of 1 billion Euros available for YEI, which will be topped up by a further billion from the European Social Fund. However, in the opinion of the AK, this increase is not sufficient; it should be at least 6 billion. According to AK President Kaske, the conditions for claiming the funds, which are only available once the level of youth unemployment has exceeded 25 percent, would have to be relaxed.

Since 2013, the labour market situation for young people in the EU has overall performed better than expected

It is true that progress has been made over recent years and that in spite of this, youth unemployment is still a serious problem in many Member States; however, since 2013, the labour market situation of young people in the EU has overall performed better than expected. Since 2013, the number of unemployed young people in the EU has fallen by 1.4 million. This is in fact and to a large extent the result of the EU Initiative, which in 2013, responding to an Austrian Initiative, proposed and adopted a Youth Guarantee. This Guarantee shall ensure that all young people will be offered high-quality employment or a training course or a high-quality trainee or internship position within four months of losing their job or leaving school. The Youth Employment Initiative for young people, which was launched at the same time, is the main support programme of the EU to fund Youth Guarantee measures. The aim is to support in particularly regions, where the level of youth unemployment is above 25 %.

Four million young people are waiting in vain for a chance to train and work

The AK has always warned that high youth unemployment in Europe will be responsible for a lost generation. According to AK President Kaske, by launching the European Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative, the EU, even though it reacted late, did react. Hence, their continuation, which has now been announced by the EU Commission, was only a logical consequence; there are still too many young people in Europe, over four million to be precise, who are in vain waiting for a chance to train and work. However, continuation needs adequate funding. AK experts estimate that about six billion Euros is needed to continue the programmes from 2017 to 2020. Hence, the conditions for claiming funds have to be relaxed. To initiate targeted measures only when the level of regional youth unemployment has exceeded 25 percent is far too late, said the AK President. Therefore, access to youth employment initiatives should be granted when a level of ten percent has been reached. In Austria too, youth unemployment has been on the rise. By introducing mandatory training, an important step has been taken to tackle this development. However, these measures are expensive; that is why the AK would regard it as appropriate to release further EU funds.

Further information:

AK Press Release

EU Commission Report: Progress concerning Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative for young people