A deal has been reached on a €90 billion fund to help promote employment and social inclusion in the EU over the next seven years.
The fund, named the European Social Fund+, is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, and amounts to €87 995 billion in 2018 prices.
As part of the deal, member states will address youth unemployment, a problem that has been aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis in their spending programmes.
In countries where youth unemployment is above the EU average (that the most recent data shows standing at 17.7 per cent), 12.5 per cent of the fund will go towards remedying this.
Some proposed measures to do so include vocational education and training, and in particular apprenticeships, and school-to-work transitions.
In Malta, December’s youth unemployment stood at 9.8 per cent, so it is likely that the nation will not need to dedicate this proportion of the fund it receives towards it.
Another key target for the fund is to provide guaranteed investments in countries with many children at high risk of poverty. At least 3 per cent of the budget is to be spent on food aid and basic material assistance.
25 per cent of the funding will go to social inclusion, including integration of third country nationals.
Maltese MEP, and the deal’s rapporteur, David Casa, commented, “today is a good day for Europe. We agreed to support workers, youth, children and students with almost €90 billion.”
“I am confident that this money will target those who really need it: people without a job, those who want to improve their skills, children in poverty, and youth who should be given all the opportunities to work, train and study.
“This is a clear example of how the European Union makes a concrete, positive impact in the lives of its citizens.”
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