S&D Euro MPs today welcomed the EU Council's political agreement on a youth guarantee to be implemented in all member states.
The youth guarantee will ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years receive an offer of good-quality employment, continuing education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.
Said S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda:
"I am very pleased about the adoption of the youth guarantee. This is a very positive step which the Socialists and Democrats have been campaigning on for over a year. The youth guarantee will offer a fresh start for millions of young people."
Said S&D spokesperson for employment and social affairs Alejandro Cercas:
"This is a great victory for a fairer Europe, as well as for our social-democrat family, as it follows the path we started out on a year and a half ago.
"There is no doubt that this is a step further, but we can't stop here because we face a structural problem. The next step should be to extend the guarantee to all young EU citizens and legal residents up to the age of 25 years, and recent graduates under 30 as requested by the European Parliament.
"We will closely follow the implementation in all member states, as the recommendation still needs to be transformed into action to change the lives of millions of young Europeans."
Said S&D Euro MP and chair of the employment and social affairs committee Pervenche Berès:
"I'm very pleased that we now have this first tool focused on young people. This is a first step to respond to youth unemployment, which affects 23.4% – almost a quarter – of young people. This is also a key social element of the strategy to exit the crisis.
"The European Parliament will fight to ensure that the European Social Fund can finance this guarantee, without taking money from other programmes which promote solidarity in Europe. We want to ensure that 25% of the cohesion policy funding will be earmarked for the European Social Fund."
The EU heads of state and government have decided to allocate €6 billion in EU funds (€3 billion from the European Social Fund, €3 billion from a new budget line). The funds will enable the countries worst hit by the crisis to finance a youth guarantee.