European Youth to EU leaders: Invest in our present AND our future!
The European Council, EU Heads of State and Government, meet in Brussels today. Among other things on their agenda is the EU’s budget for the next 7 years. The European Youth Forum calls on EU leaders to invest in youth and demonstrate a strong commitment to a fairer and more sustainable Europe.
To ensure an Erasmus that can truly reach all young people, from all backgrounds and groups within our society, the European Youth Forum calls on EU leaders to boost the funding available to the programme.
While we welcome efforts to ensure that DiscoverEU is more inclusive and educational, funding for this section of the programme should not come at the expense of other projects in the youth chapter, especially funding to youth organisations. Given that the youth chapter reaches the most young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, funding for DiscoverEU should not take away from the important work of involving young people in the European project that is being done at grassroots level.
To meet demand and to ensure that the youth of Europe can experience the best of Europe, we urge the European Council to meet their own ambition and to substantially strengthen and extend the Erasmus+ programme, matching the aspiration of the European Parliament.
European Social Fund Plus
One year since the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and with a youth unemployment rate that is still more than double the overall unemployment rate, the European Youth Forum calls on EU leaders to commit to ensuring that the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) includes more investment in young people and key initiatives such as the Youth Guarantee.
The youth unemployment rate, while decreasing, is still too high, with great differences between Member States, within regions, and at local level. With youth being the age group most at risk of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, moreover, investing in youth and in measures fostering young people’s access to social rights, from education to healthcare and social protection, is also essential.
We strongly encourage EU leaders to follow the example set by the European Parliament and to at least double the budget of the current Youth Employment Initiative in ESF+. Without adequate earmarking there is no way to ensure that young people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised, receive the support they need. We urge the European Council to prioritise investment in youth, in quality jobs, and social rights.