Dublin Labour MEP Emer Costello has urged the Irish Presidency to prioritise the adoption of the EU draft regulation*, published earlier, to establish a €6 billion 'Youth Employment Initiative' before the end of its term of office on 30 June.
Speaking from this week's European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg, Emer Costello MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Employment Committee said: "The Government has rightly made youth unemployment a key priority of Ireland's EU presidency and has already made good progress on this front, especially in brokering agreement on the European Youth Guarantee in late February. I would now urge it to prioritise the adoption of the new proposal to establish a European Youth Employment Initiative before the end of its term of office in June.
“The European Commission has now tabled the draft regulation to Member States and to MEPs to give substance to the decision by EU Prime Ministers to establish a €6 billion fund for Youth Employment initiatives, including the Youth Guarantee, from 2014-20.
“The Youth Guarantee initiative is aimed at tackling the unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment across Europe. It particularly targets the almost 7.5 million young people across the EU are not in education, employment or training – the so-called 'NEETS' to bring them into the labour market.
“The Youth Guarantee is aimed at ensuring that young people receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving full time education or becoming unemployed. It would also be used to work towards a European 'Quality Framework for Traineeships', a 'European Alliance for Apprenticeships' and on reducing obstacles to the mobility of young people within the EU.
"The €6 billion allocated to tackling youth unemployment at the February European summit was a good start and should be built upon. In particular, I welcome the Commission's proposal that €3 billion for Youth Employment would come from a special budget line, providing 100% financial support for Member States and Regions with youth unemployment levels over 25%. This would be of crucial importance for countries such as Ireland.
“I also welcome the emphasis in the Commission's proposal on achieving concrete results and achieving them early and on 'targeting individual persons', rather than on supporting 'systems and structures'. For too long young people have simply been directed to pre-existing schemes instead of identifying and addressing their individual needs. I think this imbalance can be addressed with this proposal.
“I do believe the European Youth Employment Initiative can help end the scourge of youth unemployment and ensure that we avoid a 'lost generation' of young people. I will work to ensure that the European Parliament examines and adopts this proposal as soon as possible.”