Once implemented, the Guarantee will assure young people under the age of 25 a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed.
“Youth unemployment has reached crisis levels in Europe and today’s agreement is a crucial step in tackling the crisis,” Minister Burton said.
The Minister was speaking following a meeting of European social protection and employment Ministers (EPSCO) in Brussels.
Minister Burton chaired the morning session at which final agreement on the Youth Guarantee was reached.
The Guarantee stemmed from a European Commission recommendation and it fell to Ireland, in its role as President of the Council, to chair the negotiations on the recommendation.
“At the outset, the key priority I set for this meeting was to get political agreement on the EU Youth Guarantee. I’m delighted that we have reached a successful conclusion and I believe this will make a key difference to the lives of millions of young people across the EU, including in Ireland,” Minister Burton said.
There are currently 7.5 million young people across Europe who are neither in employment, education or training (NEETS), representing 12.9 per cent of young Europeans (15 to 24).
“The EU puts the estimated economic cost of this at 1.2 per cent of GDP, or more than €150 billion. And the social costs are simply devastating, as youth unemployment has been shown to have lifelong effects and leave permanent scars. That is why it is so important that we act in a meaningful and sustained way to tackle the crisis, and the Youth Guarantee is a statement of intent in that regard,” Minister Burton said.
“The overall objective of guarantee schemes is to provide Europe's youth with better prospects for their future by ensuring that supports are available to them to enter the labour market. When implemented, the Youth Guarantee will contribute to three out of the five Europe 2020 targets: increasing the employment rate, reducing the extent of early school leaving and lifting people out of poverty and social exclusion.”
The agreed document recommends that each Member State should move quickly to implement Youth Guarantees in their respective countries, taking into account existing national, regional and local policies and objectives.
Welcoming the outcome of the European Youth Guarantee campaign, Dublin based representative John Lyons TD who has long championed the Youth Guarantee said that
“With today’s announcement, the final hurdle to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee has been overcome. The next step is to allocate these funds to help member states adopt the Guarantee and other youth specific policies that can help turn the tide on youth unemployment.” I am hopeful of a equally positive decision on an application for European Commission funding for a pilot Youth Guarantee scheme in Ballymun as part of 12 pilot programmes in Europe.