This week's European Council (27-28 June 2013) will focus amongst other issues on initiatives to enhance youth employment. Member States are to discuss the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), a new funding instrument with a budget of €6 billion, within the European Social Fund to support regions, with youth unemployment over 25 percent, to deliver on the Youth Guarantee . The Greens and the European Parliament have asked to extend the age range to 15-29 years, instead of up to 25 years.
The Greens support this very good instrument and call the Lithuanian Presidency to maintain and ensure the link with the Youth Guarantee.
Youth unemployment in Europe has risen to alarming levels, with over 23 percent of young people in the EU currently unemployed. In some Member States, that number is critically high, exceeding 55 percent. 8.3 million Europeans under 25 are neither in employment nor in education or training. 15 percent of children leave school without completing secondary education and 10 percent of EU citizens are living in jobless households. This poses serious social consequences for society.
The Greens call for an end to austerity measures that are incoherent and have destructive effects on youth employment and participation of young people in society and in the labour market. Together with youth organisations, the Greens will monitor Member States' action to implement this initiative to combat youth unemployment and hold them responsible for their action or non-action.
 The Youth Guarantee Scheme is a Green proposal endorsed by the European Parliament in 2009 and adopted by the European Council earlier this year. It aims to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.