Press conference by José Manuel Barroso on the Youth Opportunities Initiative
José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and László Andor, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, gave a joint press conference for the launch of the Youth Opportunities Initiative (YOI) to boost youth employment, in particular the access to a first job, apprenticeships and traineeships.
This YOI showed young people across Europe that the EU was attentive to their situation and heard their repeated calls from Madrid to Brussels to take part in European society. This started with having a job. Long-term reforms of labour markets were clearly needed, but it took time to produce the expected results. With the YOI the EU was developing more immediate action that would help drive down youth unemployment. José Manuel Barroso added that the EC expected Member States to address youth employment in their 2012 National Reform Programmes under the Europe 2020 strategy.
The EC would support Member States' efforts by providing policy guidance and financing. It was necessary to make much better use of existing funds that were not yet committed. €30 billion of the European Social Fund was still not committed to projects and could help Member States to create larger scale support schemes for young people. In addition, the EU would provide €1.3 million of technical support through the European Social Fund to increase the number of apprenticeships schemes.