This Wednesday, during a plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution dedicated to youth empowerment, employment and social reconstruction in Europe after the pandemic [2021/2952(RSP)].

The resolution, which MEPs will vote on Wednesday, touches on a number of issues of importance from the perspective of the younger generation. These include free internships, mental health, support for young people’s access to housing and countering exclusion, among others.

The discussion on the situation of young people took place as early as January 20 of this year. Polish MEPs also spoke during it. Elżbieta Rafalska (ECR) pointed out that “Empowering young people in the context of social and labor market reconstruction after the pandemic is extremely important, as European youth have been hit the hardest by the crisis. The slowdown in the economy has taken a painful toll on young people’s career opportunities, especially those taking their first steps in the labor market. Restrictive freedoms of movement and social life, restrictions and a sense of insecurity have even led to mental health problems […] It is necessary to invest in youth, to fight for the inclusion of young people in the professional market, including by organizing paid internships and training. Actions for extremely disadvantaged young people, that is, young people with disabilities, young people from large families and young people from rural areas must become a priority. Young people are much more likely to work in the underground economy or be completely outside the labor market. The ‘lockdown’ generation must get support from us.”

Krzysztof Hetman also made his comments, pointing out that young people are one of the most vulnerable groups on whom COVID has left its mark. They were already struggling with precarious employment, unemployment, informal work or low wages before the pandemic, and the crisis has only accentuated these problems.

You can read the entire draft resolution at the following link: We will be watching the results of the vote closely – at a time when we seem to be emerging slowly from the pandemic we must be unanimous in supporting the young, on whom COVID-19 has made an exceptionally strong mark.

The resolution, which is an appeal to the relevant EU bodies, contains, among other things, the following proposals (compiled by myself based on the original text of the resolution):

  • 2022 should provide additional impetus for the proper and full implementation of the European Youth Strategy through ambitious measures to address the challenges facing young people, in particular the negative effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • strengthening the Youth Guarantee and prioritizing the fight against youth unemployment;
  • strengthening the Youth Guarantee Facility, which aims to reduce long-term unemployment and youth unemployment by at least 50% by 2030.
  • Include mental health as one of the priorities in the youth goals set out in the EYY, and calls on the Commission to also make mental health a priority in the upcoming EU care strategy; stresses that the link between socio-economic factors such as unemployment, housing insecurity, mental health and well-being must be addressed to ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach to mental health at EU level
  • Member States must continue to invest sufficient ESF+ resources in measures to support youth employment; allocate at least 15% of ESF+ resources under shared management to targeted measures and structural reforms to support quality youth employment;
  • availability of funds under the RRF for measures targeting children and youth which will lead to meaningful opportunities for young people in Europe; engage in monitoring and evaluation of national recovery and resilience plans;
  • Ensure complementarity between measures under the RRF and other EU programs, such as the Enhanced Youth Guarantee, the European Guarantee for Children, and national investments and measures to promote skills, education, training and labor market integration according to their own needs and specific national conditions
  • Increasing support for young farmers in the next Common Agricultural Policy;
  • expanding the scope of the enhanced youth guarantee to the 15-29 age group; recalls that the enhanced youth guarantee should provide real employment opportunities, not low-quality internships or endless training;
  • Use the opportunities offered by ESF+ to promote employment through active interventions for labor market integration and creating sustainable entry into the labor market. Equal positions that provide young people with access to social security and decent wages
  • To monitor the implementation of the enhanced youth guarantee schemes through the Employment Committee (EMCO) and to report regularly to EMCO on the implementation and results of the youth guarantee schemes, while informing Parliament; to establish a working group on the implementation of the enhanced youth guarantee, bringing together relevant stakeholders, including civil partners, youth organizations and social partners,
  • Ensure that public employment services (PES) cooperate with local authorities, the education sector, youth organizations and the private sector through a European network of public employment services
  • strengthen the employment orientation of mental health systems
  • Facilitate young people’s access to paid, high-quality and inclusive internships and apprenticeships; strengthen monitoring systems to ensure that young people have relevant and high-quality first work experience
  • to review existing European instruments, such as the Internship Quality Framework and the European Framework for Quality and Efficiency in Apprenticeships, and to include quality criteria for offers to young people, including the principle of fair remuneration for interns and trainees, access to social protection, sustainable employment and social rights;
  • Ensure that the new ALMA initiative helps young people, particularly young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), to find quality temporary work experience in another member state; insists that the ALMA program comply with quality standards that protect young people’s labor rights, such as decent wages, good working conditions and access to social protection;
  • Create a space for exchange on e-learning and e-learning; urges the EU and Member States to develop more programs such as eTwinning and the electronic platform for adult learning in Europe; the severe limitations in access to equipment, facilities, appropriate trainers and adequate digital infrastructure must be overcome; recalls therefore
  • to ensure the upgrading and/or retraining of its workforce and to better provide more effective apprenticeships in accordance with the European Quality and Efficiency Framework for Apprenticeships
  • proposing in 2022 new tools and initiatives to develop youth entrepreneurship and youth social investment in the Social Economy Action Plan;
  • insufficient correlation between reforms and investments in education and training with measures to ensure the inclusion of young people, especially NEET youth, in the labor market
  • calling on the Commission and the Council to further support the development of vocational education (VET) and better promote trade skills, working to avoid the negative perception of non-formal education that is prevalent in several member states, while making VET more attractive through communication and information campaigns, curricula, youth trade skills centers or hubs, special ecosystems for community-based VET, dual education systems and long-term mobility for apprentices
  • adding civic participation activities to those that are considered by workplaces to be beneficial to the personal and professional development of workers, especially young workers;
  • ensuring equal treatment of young people in the labor market, including with regard to the statutory minimum wage, in the proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union
  • taking measures to facilitate young people’s access to these schemes in the forthcoming Council recommendation on minimum income;
  • ensuring that internships, apprenticeships and apprenticeships count as work experience, thereby ensuring access to social benefits; reducing the minimum contribution period needed to access social benefits
  • working with European and national employers to implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) recommendations to help disadvantaged young people, and integrating youth provisions into future CSR initiatives;
  • Considering indicative minimum targets for assistance and tailored assistance programs in youth and employment initiatives starting in 2022 for young women at risk; working with Member States to integrate National Action Plans on the Child Guarantee with vocational integration measures at national, regional and local levels to support young single parents;
  • remove major barriers that keep young people from entering agriculture, such as access to land, finance, knowledge and innovation;
  • Coordinate approaches to creating and offering opportunities for inclusion under the Enhanced Youth Guarantee, ESF+ and the Recovery and Resilience Facility;
  • Ensure non-discriminatory design of all policies targeting young people, taking into account the diversity of young people in Europe and the challenges they face;