Accelerated EU funding for youth employment puts onus on Irish Government - Lynn Boylan MEP
Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has welcomed the vote in the European Parliament to speed up the delivery of Youth Employment Initiative funds to member states, which will result in almost €1 billion becoming accessible in the coming year.
The Dublin MEP added that this move puts the onus on the Irish government to implement a comprehensive jobs, education and training plan to meet its Youth Guarantee commitments.
Ms Boylan said:
“I have been outspoken in criticising the inadequacy of the Youth Employment Initiative to deal with the scale of the youth unemployment crisis in the EU.
In 2012 the International Labour Organisation estimated that the implementation of an effective Youth Guarantee in Europe would require new spending of €21 billion.
“Yet the Commission has only committed to €6 billion for the Youth Employment Initiative.
“While I will continue to call for stronger commitments from the European Commission, I welcome the speeding up of the delivery of these funds. The pre-financing element of the funds will now rise from 1% of the total funds to 30%.
“This means that of the €68 million in Youth Employment Initiative-specific funds reserved for this state, the amount that will become available for the Irish Government to claim in the coming year will rise to more than €20 million.
“As a result of today’s vote we expect this to come into force in June. At least half of the pre-financing amount must be used within the first year.
“With the Irish youth unemployment rate at 21%, still above the EU average, the onus is on the Government to act now. Of course, the youth unemployment rate is masked in this state by our lost generation of more than 160,000 young people who have emigrated during the crisis. Many young people in work are in low-paid, precarious positions.
“The Government needs to implement a comprehensive scheme that provides unemployed youth with quality jobs, and skills and training opportunities that can equip them for life.
“To date it has focused on discredited schemes such as JobBridge and Gateway that have exploited young people, put a downward pressure on wages and largely failed to increase skill levels or help those unemployed into steady work. Apprenticeships and traineeships offered under the Youth Guarantee must allow for a significant acquisition of skills.
“The participation of young people and their organisations in the design, implementation and monitoring of this plan will be critical to its success or failure.”