To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide a progress update on the youth guarantee fund; the way these funds may be accessed and the proportion of funding the Government expect to draw down; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore T.D.
Youth unemployment is one of the greatest challenges of the current crisis and the Irish Presidency has worked hard to address the problem and mobilise available instruments and resources to support Member States with the greatest difficulties posed by youth unemployment.
The EPSCO Council under the chairmanship of the Irish Presidency agreed on the key principles of the Youth Guarantee in February and we also worked to ensure that further resources in the MFF would support its implementation.
The €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative endorsed by the European Council in its February conclusions on a new MFF 2014-2020 will be key. €3 billion is expected to come from the existing European Social Fund, and €3 billion from a new budget line, open to all regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25%.
While the methodology for allocating these monies has not yet been drawn up, Ireland will expect support as one of the Member States with the biggest youth unemployment challenge. We have an excellent track record in attracting and using EU funding. The Irish Presidency aims to get agreement on the new MFF in June.