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European Court of Auditors report on the Youth Guarantee – comment from the Commission

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 24 maart 2015.

The Commission welcomes the report published by the Court of Auditors today on the Youth Guarantee, to which the European Commission has provided a reply, which underlines the timely and appropriate support which the Commission provided to the Member States in setting up their Youth Guarantee schemes.

The Youth Guarantee is based on successful experience in Austria and Finland that show that investing in school-to-work transitions for young people pays off. The Finnish Youth Guarantee helped to reduce unemployment amongst young people, with 83.5% successfully allocated a job, traineeship, apprenticeship or further education within three months of registering.

The Commission agrees that investing in a Youth Guarantee is crucial for the EU to preserve its future growth potential. Significant EU financial support is available - most notably from the European Social Fund and in the context of the Youth Employment Initiative. However, to make the Youth Guarantee a reality, Member States must prioritise youth employment measures also in their national budgets. The Commission notes the recommendation addressed to Member States and would indeed welcome in some cases a better overview of the estimated cost of all planned measures to combat youth unemployment.

As rightly noted by the European Court of Auditors, the EU funding under the Youth Guarantee scheme amounts to 12.7 billion euro for the 2014-2020 period. In addition, significant EU support is also available from the European Social Fund: 11 billion euro will be invested in modernising labour market systems and 27 billion euro are expected to be invested in education systems - which are likely to impact positively on reducing youth unemployment.

The Commission agrees that "good-quality" is a crucial element for implementing the Youth Guarantee. The Commission monitors the quality of employment in the European Semester, with particular attention being paid to school-to-work transitions and issues related to labour market segmentation. The Commission is also closely monitoring the implementation of the Quality Framework on Traineeships, setting common quality standards for traineeships and promoting good-quality apprenticeships through the European Alliance for Apprenticeships

The Youth Guarantee is both a structural reform to drastically improve school-to-work transitions and a measure to immediately support jobs for young people. The national situation differs between the Member States (i.e. number of the NEETs they have and their specific characteristics) and, as highlighted in the reply of the Commission to the report of the Court of Auditors, the impacts depend on the choices made by the Member States as regards the targeting and the design of the support, this is why no impact assessment could be carried out. An extensive Staff Working Document was published which describes in detail what constitutes a Youth Guarantee, addresses questions about the costs and benefits of such schemes, and describes the individual ingredients necessary to make the Youth Guarantee a success.

Thorough and regular monitoring is of utmost importance for the successful implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes. The Commission will draw on the Indicators Framework developed by the Employment Committee for this purpose and has committed to report to the European Parliament and the Council on the Youth Guarantee implementation in 2016. It should be recalled that the Commission is monitoring the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in the framework of the European Semester, but that the responsibility for national implementation lies with the Member States. The Commission continues to work closely with the Member States to support them in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, both technically and financially.

MEMO/15/4676

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