European Parliament votes on two major documents for young people of the EU
The European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee (CULT) has voted to adopt the Erasmus+ Implementation Report, which includes amendments put forward by the European Youth Forum. The Youth Forum welcomes the vote of CULT as an important development towards making Erasmus+ more accessible to young people and relevant to the work of youth organisations and looks forward to Parliament as a whole adopting the report early next year.
Many important issues are addressed in the report, such as the difficulties European NGOs can face when applying for funding at a decentralised level. The report recommends that the Commission amend Erasmus+ Key Action 2 to make it more accessible to European youth organisations. The Youth Forum believes the report is very balanced and thanks the Rapporteur, MEP Milan Zver, for his openness in listening to the concerns of youth organisations and including them in the development of the report.
Last week (1st December) the European Parliament voted on the budget for 2017. MEPs voted to secure further €500 million of funding for the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), as well as adding €200 million to initiatives for growth and jobs like COSME (supporting SMEs), Connecting Europe Facility (CEF, financing infrastructure projects), Horizon 2020 (research projects) and Erasmus+, which obtained €50 million more for 2017.
Even though young people are now the group at highest risk of poverty and social exclusion, the proportion of the EU budget used directly for youth remains low. Further efforts need to be taken to invest more in young people, particularly in supporting them to get a quality job. The Youth Employment Initiative is central to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and even with the Parliament’s announcement of increased budget allocation the Youth Forum is extremely concerned that without adequate funding youth unemployment will continue. EU leaders must live up to their promise and make youth a priority.
Discussions are also still on going between the Parliament and the Council regarding the revision of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), which – through increased funding for Erasmus+ – could potentially allow more young people to take up the opportunity to study, volunteer and work aboard. The Youth Forum calls on EU leaders to make sure that youth will become a priority in the budgetary discussions as well and that the nice words will be translated into real budget commitments.