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Regions and cities call for more resources to fight youth unemployment in Europe  

​​ Local and regional authorities urge EU and national institutions to protect young Europeans' rights to work, fair remuneration and access to social protection as part of the recovery. The pandemic has caused a sharp rise in youth unemployment across the European Union. Therefore, regions and cities ask to include youth employment measures in national recovery plans. These are among the main messages conveyed by the opinion which was drafted by Romy Karier (LU/EPP) and debated by the Plenary of the European Committee of the Regions.

The Plenary of the European Committee of the Regions debated the opinion drafted by Romy Karier (LU/EPP), Member of Clervaux municipal council, on the Reinforced Youth Guarantee , the EU initiative to fight unemployment among citizens under the age of 30. Local and regional authorities welcome the reinforcement of this instrument created seven years ago. Nevertheless, they find it regrettable that in the 2021-2027 programming period the resources allocated to support the Youth Guarantee have not been substantially increased, despite the critical context of the COVID-19 crisis.

The latest figures from Eurostat shows that in December 2020 the youth unemployment rate was 17.8% in the EU (3.138 million under 25 year olds), up from 14.8% in December 2019, while the percentage of NEET (Neither in Employment or in Education or Training) amongst citizens under 30 increased from 12,5% in 2019 to 13,5% in the third quarter of 2020, with a peak of nearly 15% before the summer.

The rapporteur Romy Karier highlighted that " If they are listened to, regions and localities can make a major contribution to fight against youth unemployment. Like all levels of power, we must step up our efforts and work hand in hand in this moment of crisis. It is in this perspective that we propose concrete and strong measures to reinforce the European Youth Guarantee. Without a real commitment to increase the support to our youth, either financially or by improving our strategies, the consequences are likely to be dramatic and to extend well beyond the current crisis. But if instead, we come together, I am convinced that we can avoid a new lost generation ".

In order to effectively address youth unemployment in light of the pandemic, local and regional leaders ask to complement the Reinforced Youth Guarantee with the prolongation and extension of SURE , the EUR 100 billion temporary mechanism created to help Member States protect workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, the CoR calls for the inclusion of youth employment measures in the national Recovery and Resilience Plans , and warns against policies that seek to promote youth employment by undermining people’s rights to fair remuneration and access to social protection as part of the recovery.

The CoR underlines that local and regional authorities are crucial to support the effective implementation of the Youth Guarantee because they can be the bridge between educational institutions and public employment services. The Committee stresses the importance of promoting labour mobility through the reinforced Youth Guarantee, between Member States and between regions, given the important role that migration plays in shaping labour market opportunities. Therefore, regions and cities regret that this provision, which existed in the original Youth Guarantee, has not been retained in the new proposal.

Furthermore, CoR's members reiterate that it is essential to define clear and precise binding criteria regarding the quality of the Youth Guarantee offers of employment, education, training, and apprenticeships. It is equally important to reduce the administrative burden on young job-seekers: the online registration through specific Youth Guarantee e-platforms should be the standard procedure.

The final result of the vote on the opinion will be announced at the end of the Plenary session.

Background:

The EU supports Member States in reducing youth unemployment and inactivity through the Youth Employment Support package , which is built around four strands. One of these is the Youth Guarantee, an initiative created in 2013 that had already helped 24 million young people. Following a European Commission's proposal, the Council approved a recommendation on a reinforced Youth Guarantee last year.

With the Guarantee, all Member States committed to ensure that all young people under the age of 30 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving education.

Contacts:

Matteo Miglietta

Tel. +32 (0)470 895 382

matteo.miglietta@cor.europa.eu