Strengthening the EU Youth Guarantee needs a quality framework
The Youth Guarantee has been in force since 2013 and is the commitment of all EU member states to guarantee young people a high-quality offer of employment, training, apprenticeship or work experience within four months of becoming unemployed or completing their education, thus facilitating their access to the labour market. The EU Commission is now launching the initiative "Youth Employment Support: a bridge to jobs for the next generation". The associated support measures are intended to strengthen the youth and employment policies of the member states and to cushion the consequences of the corona crisis. The European Commission is making EUR 22 billion available for this purpose.
We welcome the fact that the political reality has been recognised by young people and that the urgently needed support measures are being strengthened. The initiative is also more inclusive than before and aims to avoid any form of discrimination. This is an important signal. The shift in the age limit from 25 to 29 is also correct.
The sum of EUR 22 billion is a good start. It is questionable whether it is sufficient to combat youth unemployment in the EU in a sustainable and structural manner. Moreover, only about a third of the funds provided by the EU are earmarked for specific purposes. For the rest, it is up to the member states whether they actually use the money to promote youth employment. Here the Commission must continue to press for this to happen.
We criticise the lack of a clear quality framework for the implementation of the measures. For example, jobs offered under the Youth Guarantee must be subject to social security contributions. In addition, it must be clearly regulated that the money is not used by employers as subsidies for precarious jobs, but that young people benefit directly in the form of secure employment relationships. It is problematic that the Commission focuses on training and the promotion of skills; moreover, this misses the reality. The young generation is the best-educated generation - what is lacking are sufficiently good jobs. Here the announced green restructuring of the economy in the context of the European Green Deal and the digital change offer far-reaching opportunities that should definitely be seized.
Civil society in the member states must be involved in implementing the Youth Guarantee. Youth associations and youth councils in particular must be involved. They are closest to the reality of life for young people. As DBJR we are currently working on a quality framework together with the European Youth Forum. This should help to ensure that the funds for combating youth unemployment reach where they are needed in a sustainable manner: Among young people in the European Union.