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EU to combat youth unemployment

Funding for the Youth Employment Initiative.

After agreeing to a deal on rescuing failed banks on Wednesday, the finance ministers of the European Union (EU) yesterday agreed to allocate €6bn for the next two years to create jobs and provide apprenticeships for youth as part of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

The funding will be provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The leaders also agreed to prioritise lending for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in countries with high rate of youth unemployment and where new investments are needed to promote growth and jobs through the launch of a new investment plan.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of EU Council, said that the idea is to increase synergies between the EU budget and the European Investment Bank, so as to leverage private investments to finance millions of SMEs.

Citing that the deal was possible because all sides have gone the extra mile, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of European Commission in a press statement, said: “This is a good deal for Europe, this is a good deal for European citizens, this is a good deal for the European economy.

“The deal includes frontloading of expenditure on critical issues like youth employment, research, youth, namely Erasmus, and also SMEs. The deal includes also the possibility for the countries that so wish to increase the aid for most deprived people. The deal also confirms the agreement reached for this year amending budget and it gives guarantees that there will be the payments for European beneficiaries.”

The deal is subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.

Furthermore, the 27 member nations of the EU have also reached an agreement on a seven-year €960bn budget deal.