Ref. Ares(2019)2594589 - 12/04/2019
Ref. Ares(2019)3300162 - 20/05/2019
Briefing file for Commissioner Thyssen
Bilateral meeting with H.E. Monsignor Lebeaupin, Apostolic Nuncio
to the European Union
29 March 2019, 11:00, Berlaymont
You will meet, at his request, with H.E. Monsignor Lebeaupin, Apostolic Nuncio, Head of
Mission of the Holy See to the EU. He has requested a meeting with you to discuss Europe’s
social and cultural dimensions and its future perspectives.
On 20 March 2018, you met him previously to exchange on Social Europe including the
integration of migrants. In November 2016, you visited the Vatican for a keynote speech at
the Vatican International Conference on "Business Leaders as agents of economic and
social inclusion". The Nuncio is meeting regularly with EU political and senior officials, latest
meetings (January-March 2019): Commissioners Dombrovskis, Moscovici, Avramopoulos,
Gabriel, Navracsics and Moedas; Cabinet of Cssr Mimica and SG Selmayr. In November
2018 he met with Cabinet of Pres Juncker.
EU-Holy See relations are “multidimensional”: both intra-EU/Member States and international
relations. The EU and the Holy are allies when it comes to issues such as peace,
international cooperation, multilateral governance, human rights, climate change,
development, social policy and the protection of people in need, including migrants.
Divergences remain on several ethical issues (birth regulation, euthanasia, definition of
marriage, aspects of research such as the use of human cells). In 2015 HRVP Mogherini and
Msgr. Lebeaupin had established the “EU-Holy See Foreign Policy and Global Issues
Dialogue”; since then relations have increased considerably.
Social policy is ‘core business’ in the Vatican. Thus, the EU and the Holy See share an
interest in promoting enhancing social policies world-wide. Regarding the dignity of work and
the rights of workers, the Catholic Church teaches that the economy must serve the people.
This includes the rights to productive work, decent and fair wages, the organisation of
unions, private property, and economic initiative. Particular concerns of the Pope refer to
(Youth) unemployment and the working poor.
You may also take this opportunity to underline the social nature of the European Pillar of
Social Rights, to also inform the Nuncio regarding the future of work, youth employment,
social inclusion as regards disability, housing, and migrants. As well as this, you could point
out the resources we are devoting and will devote to social inclusion via the proposed ESF+.
Main topics on the agenda:
(1) Future of Social Europe
(2) Future of the Cultural Dimension of Europe
(3) Integration of Migrants
(5) Inclusion of the disabled
(6) Work-Life Balance- helping families and carers
(7) Youth employment
1. CV of Monsignor Lebeaupin
2. Flash HE Lebeaupin meeting VP VD 4 March 2019
1. Future of Social Europe
Solemnly proclaimed by all European Institutions at the Gothenburg
Summit in November 2017, the European Pillar of Social Rights is
our foundation to build on
, when striving for upward convergence
and better living conditions.
The Pillar provides both the inspiration and the concrete tools
address current and emerging challenges
. As such, it is at the
heart of the future of social Europe
The Pillar is eminently ‘social’
- half of its 20 principles directly
concern social protection and inclusion.
These principles aim at ensuring access to adequate social
protection throughout the life cycle
: starting at an early age
tackling child poverty, then for the active age population, and also
ensuring rights for adequate old age income support.
At EU level
, the Pillar will be implemented using
Semester, well-targeted legislation, and the European Funds.
The principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar fall under the
competence of the EU, the Member States, and social and civil
partners. So the Pillar is essentially a joint endeavour.
I would also like to take this time to recall that the Pillar not a
and it fully respects subsidiarity
[The European Semester]
The Pillar is reflected in all stages of the European Semester –
the annual cycle of economic policy governance
Annual country-specific recommendations
States to advance national reforms addressing the three chapters of
We have passed a limited number of European legislative and
We have already seen the formal adoption of the European
and we are hoping to see in April
adoption of Batch III of Carcinogens, Work-Life Balance, Transparent
and Predictable Working Conditions, and the European Labour
The ESF+ will be our main tool when it comes to investing in people.
We propose a budget of EUR 101.2 billion for the 2021-2027
. It will be guided by the principles of the Pillar.
The European Commission’s proposal has also included a ‘ring-
fencing’ of 25% dedicated to social inclusion
– thus helping to
ensure that help gets to those who need it most.
And at least 4% will be dedicated to fighting material deprivation
in order to pursue the priorities and activities of the current FEAD
(FEAD amounted to EUR 3.8 billion for the 2014–20 period).
I also understand that the Holy Father is also preoccupied by the
challenges posed by climate change
. Our proposal for the Funds
sets a solid, ambitious goal for climate mainstreaming across all EU
programmes, with an overall target of 25%
contributing to climate
[Sustainable Development Goals and EU]
The Sustainable Development Goals will also play an important role in
the future of Social Europe.
We published recently the sixth Reflection Paper “Towards a
Sustainable Europe by 2030".
The Pillar is clearly identified as the instrument:
o to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in the social
o and to screen how social considerations are taken up under the
other sustainability dimensions.
The reflection paper presents three scenarios:
1. an overarching SDG strategy to guide the actions of the EU and
its Member States.
2. to tailor the SDG strategy to EU priorities but there would be no
target setting at EU level.
3. focusing efforts on the Union's external action.
With these scenarios the Commission provides a starting point
for a discussion on how we can best achieve sustainability.
What is the situation in Europe today?
The fight against poverty and social exclusion is a key priority for the EU [as outlined by the
EU2020 strategy]. There are signs that the improvements in the economic situation in
Europe are also benefiting the most vulnerable. However, the crisis has left significant scars.
The population at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) rose considerably in the
aftermath of the financial and economic crisis (2008-2012), by 10 millions all in all.
With the economic and labour market recovery, the numbers at risk have started to fall. In
the latest year for which data is available (2017), the number of people living at risk of
poverty or social exclusion fell by over 5 million in the EU-28. The numbers are now below
pre-crisis levels (of 2008), standing at 22.4% of the EU population in 2017. This is still far
away from the EU2020 target, but showing some significant improvement.
Yet, still one in four Europeans is at risk of poverty or social exclusion and we are clearly off-
track in reaching the EU 2020 poverty target. A further 16 million people would have to exit
AROPE in the remaining three years for the target to be achieved. This would require that
the next three years by the end of the decade (end 2020) would show an as positive
improvement as the one registered in 2017. [It is not impossible but not the most likely].
Important challenges remain, in particular with regards to child poverty, in-work poverty, long-
term unemployment and the relatively high numbers of young people not in education,
employment or training. While the number of people living in (quasi-)jobless households is
decreasing, their poverty level remain persistently high if not increasing. It points to the low
adequacy of social benefits.
Reorganising the Discastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
The Vatican’s Dicastery (‘Ministry’) for Promoting Integral Human Development, in place only
since January 2017, is a ‘product’ of Pope Francis’ Curia reform. Its first Prefect (chair) is
Peter Cardinal Turkson. The Dicastery, not yet working on ‘full speed’, is a merger of four
Pontifical Councils: Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant
People, and Health Care Workers.
Its main objectives are to:
- express the Holy Father’s care for suffering humanity, including the needy, the sick and the
excluded, and pays special attention to the needs and issues of those who are forced to flee
their homeland, the stateless, the marginalized, victims of armed conflicts and natural
disasters, the imprisoned, the unemployed, victims of contemporary forms of slavery and
torture, and others whose dignity is endangered.
- promote integral human development in the light of the Gospel and in the tradition of the
Church’s social teachings. To this end, it maintains relations with the Conferences of
Bishops, offering them its cooperation so that values related to justice and peace as well as
the care of creation may be promoted.
- to fostering among peoples: sensitivity for peace, commitment to justice and solidarity with
those who are most vulnerable such as migrants and refugees
2. Future of the Cultural Dimension of Europe
Europe attaches great importance to diversity. In Article 3 of the
Lisbon Treaty, the European Union recognises the “richness of its
cultural and linguistic diversity” and undertakes to promote “economic
and social cohesion”.
The parallel objectives of protecting diversity and promoting inclusion
can, however, clash in the absence of a coherent policy. Phenomena
linked to mobility and migration, as well as social and economic
inequalities, are sources of tension and require effective
management. Cultural policy can help us to face these challenges.
In addition to economic and social policies, culture and cultural
heritage have a role to play in facilitating the inclusion of the most
deprived persons, to promote well-being and trust and to create jobs,
especially for young people, and economic growth.
Our cultural heritage is a heritage to be shared. Not only is it essential
to bring people together; It also produces significant economic
benefits. This is one of the key messages of last year’s European
Year of Cultural Heritage (2018) — a year dedicated to the tangible
and intangible cultural richness of our continent.
As you mentioned at the January 2018 COMECE conference:
‘Promoting the Christian Heritage of Europe’ we should engage
younger generations in common responsibility for Europe’s cultural
heritage, including religious heritage.
The transfer of cultural heritage to future generations is based not
only on expertise, knowledge and financial means, but also on our
ability to renew a sense of belonging and responsibility.
Digital tools enable us to widen access to culture and heritage, to
attract new audiences. They also allow cultural institutions to get out
of their walls to have a broader impact on society.
It is also important not to miss opportunities to project Europe’s rich
and diverse cultural heritage on the international stage.
3. Integration of Migrants
The involvement of His Holiness Pope Francis for migrants and
refugees is remarkable. The Commission shares the concerns of His
Holiness concerning the treatment of migrants and refugees.
President Juncker and Vice President Timmermans repeatedly
reminded that Europe was not a fortress and did not have to become
a fortress. Europe is a Union of values based on respect for human
life and solidarity. These values have guided and must continue to
guide our action.
For migrants and third country nationals living in Europe to lead a life
of dignity, and to contribute to where they live, we are working to
encourage their integration.
On 7 June 2016, the Commission presented an Action Plan on
integration of third country nationals.
The Commission has also been providing substantial support to
Member States through funding and will continue to do so.
In the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27, particularly in
the next ESF+, we place great emphasis on migrant integration
objectives. We will continue to support targeted and mainstreamed
initiatives across different policy areas – employment, housing,
education and health.
Actions in the early phases of integration would include basic language
training, civic orientation courses, one-stop-shop advice centres, and
assistance in areas such as housing and health care.
These measures will be complemented by interventions addressing
main employment and social inclusion concerns and interventions
directed to vulnerable groups.
In June 2016 the European Commission launched an Action Plan on the Integration of third
country nationals, which sets out the framework of the work on integration at EU level. It
contains a set of concrete actions to promote integration in five areas: pre-departure and pre-
arrival measures, education, integration into the labour market, access to basic services such
as housing and health, and active participation and social inclusion.
Work on integration at EU level is focusing on labour market integration, as there are still
large gaps across the EU on employment outcomes of migrants compared to EU citizens.
The EU support investments of MS in this area through EU funding. We are already
providing dedicated funding for integration, under the Asylum, Migration and Integration
Fund, with a total of 1 billion earmarked for integration in national programmes of Member
States for the current seven year framework.
A call for proposals under the AMIF to support transnational projects in the field of integration
has been launched in July 2018.
In addition, there is a substantial support available under the European Structural and
Investment Funds in the 2014-2020 period, primarily in the areas of social inclusion,
education and employment including infrastructure and access to services.
[Funds: current MFF 2014-2020]
The European Social Fund (ESF) supports the long-term integration of migrants and
all measures related to their integration into the labour market, provided they have
access to the labour market. Financial support for emergency measures, such as
reception centres, mobile hospitals, tents, and containers primarily fall under the
scope of AMIF programmes. In order to ensure an adequate and comprehensive
response to the challenges Member States may face with the migrant crisis, the
coordinated use of various European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) is
The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
can support migrants by
providing them with immediate relief (food, basic material assistance) and promoting
their social inclusion, regardless of their legal status. However, Member States define
the target groups individually and the scope of support by FEAD depends on the
scope of the national programme.
The EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) funds transnational
projects to test and implement innovative policy schemes and delivery mechanisms
facilitating a swift labour market integration of the asylum seekers, and refugees and
their family members.
[Funds: new proposed MFF 2021-2027]
The proposal on the future Multiannual Financial Framework has prioritised
streamlining and simplifying the access to EU funds in the area of migrant integration.
Under the new proposed MFF 2021-2027, there are three main budgetary chapters
that deal with migrant, refugee and asylum seeking issues:
o Chapter II Cohesion and Values
will help deal with long-term migrant
integration challenges, notably under the Investing in People, Social
Cohesion and Values, and the Regional Development & Cohesion
o Chapter IV on Migration and Border Management
entails two funds: the
reinforced Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and the new integrated
Border Management Fund. The former will deal with supporting the work
of national authorities to provide reception to asylum seekers and migrants
in the period immediately after arrival on EU territory, as well as
developing a common asylum and migration policy and ensuring effective
returns (early integration). The latter will provide vital and reinforced
support to Member States in the shared responsibility of securing the
common external borders of the Union. It will cover border management,
visas and customs control equipment.
o Chapter VI on Neighbourhood & the World
covers external migration
aspects. The instruments under the external policy address the root
causes of migration and support cooperation with third countries on
migration management and security, thus contributing to the
implementation of the Partnership Framework on migration.
the EU budget for the management of external borders, migration and
refugee flows will be significantly reinforced, totalling nearly EUR 33 billion, compared
to EUR 12.4 billion for the period 2014-2020 (a 2.6 fold increase)
The Commission shares His Holiness’ preoccupation regarding the
plight of the homeless and the rise of homelessness in Europe.
Indeed, Homelessness levels have gone up
in all Member States
these last years, except Finland.
While Member States shoulder the main responsibility in this, the
Commission has a key role in supporting, coordinating or
supplementing their actions.
Principle 19 of the European Pillar of Social Rights now supports our
action in this area steering policy guidance and the use of significant
financial resources available to support housing solutions for the
vulnerable groups in Member States.
The new MFF and in particular the ESF+ as well as the future
InvestEU Programme will be able to play a significant role. Indeed,
they will support Member States in addressing social inclusion of the
most vulnerable groups, like people experiencing homelessness or at
risk of housing exclusion.
Housing and homelessness in the ESF and the FEAD (2014-2020)
The ESF can support the social inclusion of homeless people by funding integrated support
services providing relief, counselling anti-eviction programmes; supporting the training of
service providers working with the homeless; financing projects that aim at collecting
statistical data on the homeless; establishing and operating training centres and social
economy programmes aimed at facilitating the integration of homeless people into the labour
market. EU Member States earmarked around 25.5% of their ESF financial resources
(amounting to around EUR 21.2 billion) to the thematic objective 9 on social inclusion.
FEAD is used to address the needs of homeless people within the limitations of its scope.
Although housing is not considered part of the “basic material assistance” provided in OPI
(and the volume of FEAD funding would not allow to meet the cost of housing), advice on
housing can be provided as an accompanying measure. Furthermore, advice on healthcare
and social services that are important in the fight against homelessness can be provided. In
OPII, social inclusion measures refer to non-financial, non-material assistance, which equally
prevents any direct support to housing infrastructure; yet, well-designed inclusion measures
can contribute strategically towards ending homelessness.
Housing and homelessness within the context of ESF+ (2021-2027)
The ESF+ will have at its core the policy objectives and priorities set out by the European
Pillar of Social Rights, which include the promotion of social cohesion and convergence. The
Pillar identifies housing and assistance for the homeless as one of its 20 key social
principles. Principle 19 on "Housing and assistance for the homeless" states that:
• Access to social housing or housing assistance of good quality shall be provided for
those in need.
• Vulnerable people have the right to appropriate assistance and protection against
• Adequate shelter and services shall be provided to the homeless in order to promote
their social inclusion.
The above principle is included among the areas of investment of ESF+. It should however
be kept in mind that homeless people often require complex, integrated types of support over
a long period of time and therefore housing actions should not be isolated from other
thematic areas such as education, employment, health etc. that can be also supported
In order to tackle (educational and) housing segregation, investment in social infrastructure
requires improving the access to inclusive, non-segregated facilities, including dismantling
existing segregated educational services and housing. This can include provision of assisted
social housing, such as apartments, equipment supporting independent living, transport
means in order to improve access to mainstream services, training facilities targeting the
personnel of social services etc.
Moreover, under the post 2020 MFF, social investment opportunities will be mainstreamed
across a wide range of other programmes including the European Regional Development
Fund, Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, Erasmus, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the
European Solidarity Corps, the Justice programme and the Rights and Values programme.
EU policy action on homelessness and housing exclusion (HHE)
The Commission addresses HHE in the broader EU poverty and social inclusion policy
framework, making sure that the interests of marginalised people are efficiently covered in
our policy initiatives. For example, the EU Framework for National Roma Integration
Strategies, the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, the Migration Agenda and our active
inclusion policies are of direct relevance.
Back in 2013, the Commission set out a package of initiatives, the Social Investment
Package (SIP), which included a Staff Working Document on HHE putting the accent on
housing-led solutions, to promote notably access to affordable housing.
The Commission also promotes the share of good practices, exchanges, innovative
approaches and help building data and monitoring developments on housing markets as part
of the SIP, and since then it has been implementing a number of policy actions directly
related to HHE.
These include notably data development, as lack of comparable data is a major obstacle of
evidence-based policy-making in this field.
Homelessness and housing exclusion (HHE) in the European Semester
In the last few years, an increasing number of national reform programmes (NRP) and
country reports (CR) refer to housing-related issues. The Commission has put more
emphasis on homelessness and housing exclusion and has better stressed issues such as
housing supply shortage, dysfunctional housing markets, macroeconomic imbalances,
insufficient social housing, lack of access to affordable housing and housing cost
The CSR on housing adopted in 2018 focus primarily on restoring the healthy functioning of
the housing market to avoid macroeconomic imbalances. Housing exclusion data have been
used to underpin poverty situations in some country reports:
received a CSR calling to "Ensure the timely and effective implementation of
the National Development Plan, including in terms of clean energy, transport, housing,
water services and affordable quality childcare. Prioritise the upskilling of the adult
working-age population, with a focus on digital skills"
For the Netherlands
, the Commission recommends to take measures to reduce the debt
bias for households and the remaining distortions in the housing market, in particular
by supporting the development of the private rental sector.
CSR called again (as in 2017) for actions to boost housing supply, including
through additional reforms to the planning system.
5. Inclusion of the disabled
The Commission shares the Holy Father’s vision of disabled people
be included and be afforded their rightful human dignity.
We are committed to improving the situation of persons with
disabilities, who are disadvantaged in the society.
We work in the framework of the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the EU Disability Strategy
2010-2020, which is the EU instrument for the implementation of the
The Strategy contains eight areas for action, including employment,
education and training, and social protection. It is in this framework
that the Commission has, for example, proposed the European
Accessibility Act, implemented a pilot project on a European Disability
Card or developed an awareness-raising campaign on discrimination.
We have started with the process for evaluation of implementation of
the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020
. Its results will be
known by mid-2020. These results will base the decision of the future
College on the next steps to followed in this policy area.
European Disability Strategy 2010-2020:
The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (EDS) aims at empowering persons with
disabilities to enjoy their full rights and benefit from participating in society on an equal basis
with others. The strategy also aims to achieve an effective implementation of the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ('UNCRPD' or 'the Convention') by the
EU. The Strategy covers eight areas of action: Accessibility, Participation, Equality,
Employment, Education and Training, Social Protection, Health and External Action.
A Progress report on the implementation of the Disability Strategy 2010-2020 has been
adopted in February 2017. It covers the work that has been developed up to the end of 2016.
It describes the achievements and remaining challenges in the implementation of our
The Commission is in the process of evaluating the European Disability Strategy to assess
inter alia its influence on the implementation of the UNCRPD at EU level. Drawing on the
available evidence, the results of the evaluation will be used as reference base for possible
future policy development.
All stakeholders will be duly consulted during the evaluation process both through an Online
Public Consultation, questionnaires and meetings.
European Accessibility Act:
In December 2015, the Commission adopted a proposal for a European Accessibility Act - a
business friendly Directive which harmonises accessibility requirements for a number of
products and services.
The European Accessibility Act aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for
certain accessible products and services by removing barriers created by divergent
legislation. This will facilitate the work of companies and will bring benefits for disabled and
older people in the EU. Some of these products and services are potentially important in the
education area for disabled persons, for ex. computers, audio-visual services, e-books.
The European Accessibility Act has been adopted by EP in 1st reading by the plenary with a
comfortable majority on 13 March. It will now go to Council for adoption (early April).
EU Disability Card - Pilot project 2016-2017
Pilot projects in 8 countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania,
Slovenia with total amount of 1.3M€
The aim of the projects is to put in place the EU Disability Card and the system of associated
benefits in 8 participating countries. The areas covered by these projects are culture, sports,
leisure and in some countries also transport.
The Commission will evaluate the pilot action to see if it was successful and assess if
another financial support should be provided to broaden it to more countries. Such
assessment will be done by "a study assessing the implementation of the pilot action on the
EU Disability Card and associated benefits".
6. Work-Life Balance – helping families and carers
I understand that His Holiness has expressed concern regarding the
lack of time parents spend with their children due to economic
The Commission shares this preoccupation. Indeed today’s families
struggle to reconcile their work, family, care and private lives.
A lack of opportunities to combine work and family responsibilities
leads many women dropping out of the labour market.
As a result, the employment rate of women today is 12 percentage
points lower than that of men.
Thanks to the Directive on work-life balance, Europe will have a
comprehensive set of binding minimum standards on an issue that is
crucial for women, men, families and people’s careers in Europe.
The Directive will help women and men to reconcile their jobs with
family responsibilities. It will give them a real choice in how they want
to live their life, pursue their career and
raise their children or care for
family members in need.
The Directive on work-life balance obliges Member States to grant the right to
paternity leave to homosexual couples
[Art. 3 says: “paternity leave means leave from work for fathers or, where and
in so far as recognised by national law, for equivalent second parents, on the
occasion of the birth for the purposes of providing care”]
The Directive does not oblige Member States to grant paternity leave to
On the contrary – it fully respects the divergence among Member States and
recognises Member States’ competence in this area.
The Directive grants the right to paternity leave ONLY in those Member States
that do recognise, under their national laws, other persons than fathers for
purposes of paternity leave.
7. Youth Employment
The Commission shares the Holy Father’s serious concern regarding
youth unemployment and the dangers of having a ‘lost generation’.
As He let His views on this be known at the start of His Pontificate
(2013), in the EU in 2013 Member States committed to making sure
that all young people under the age of 25 receive a good-quality offer
of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a
traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving
formal education – the Youth Guarantee
were provided for Member States with the biggest
youth unemployment issue. Our efforts are paying off. Youth
unemployment is at record low.
But our work should not stop here. Youth unemployment is still far too
high in many Member States. Inactivity among young people remains
In December 2016 the Commission launched the European
, to give young people more opportunities to
volunteer, work or do a traineeship in solidarity sectors.
The launch of the European Solidarity Corps, is equally set to provide
young people with opportunities to express solidarity and gain some
work experience, either in their locality or abroad. We aim to place
10,000 young people in a solidarity job or traineeship by 2020.
In terms of funding
, the Commission’s proposal for the future ESF –
the ESF+ - maintains a focus on youth employment, whilst attempting
to simplify funding. Member States with a NEET rate higher than the
EU average will need to allocate at least 10% of their ESF resources
to youth employment measures.
The EU youth (15-24) unemployment rate (14.9%) and the rate of young people neither in
employment nor in education or training (NEET ) (10.3%) are the lowest on record. Youth
unemployment has decreased in all Member States. Rates of young NEETs have also
decreased in most Member States. However, the youth unemployment rate in the EU is still
double the overall unemployment rate (6.6%) and significant differences remain across the
EU. Youth unemployment rates are over 30% in Greece, Spain and Italy, compared to less
than 7% in the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands.
The Youth Guarantee (YG) is the central plank in the Commission's efforts to tackle youth
unemployment and facilitate school-to-work transitions. The Youth Guarantee is a
commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years
receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or
traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal
The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main EU financial resources to support
the YG’s implementation, providing targeted support to NEETs living in regions with very high
youth unemployment . The total budget of the YEI is EUR 8.8 billion for the period 2014-20.
The Commission proposal for the ESF post 2020 does not include the Youth Employment
Initiative in its current form. Instead, it includes a provision stipulating that Member States
with a NEET rate (15-29) of above EU average must earmark at least 10% of their ESF funds
to addressing youth unemployment.
Results and remaining challenges
Compared to the peak of the youth unemployment crisis there are now 2,4 million fewer
young unemployed and 1,9 million fewer NEETs in the EU (these trends should be seen in
the context of cyclical factors, yet the YG has contributed to these improvements by
supporting demand-side measures that increased opportunities for young people and
Since 2014, when implementation of the YG started on the ground, every year more than 3.5
million young people registered in the YG took up an offer of employment, continued
education, a traineeship or an apprenticeship.
While results are visible on the ground, Youth Guarantee schemes have not yet reached all
young people who have become unemployed or left school. Accelerating and broadening the
YG would require:
Continued political commitment and financial support for the Youth Guarantee as a
long-term, structural reform.
Better engaging with non-registered NEETs and the low-skilled who are under-
represented among beneficiaries.
Strengthened capacity of partners (in particular public employment services) and
better cooperation between education providers and employers to improve the quality
of offers .
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