Commission report highlights progress of the Youth Guarantee and of the Youth Employment Initiative Today, the European Commission adopted a Communication that highlights the main achievements of the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) since their launch in 2013 and draws lessons on how to improve the EU and national efforts on deploying national Youth Guarantee schemes. Last year, this Commission took measures to accelerate the implementation of the Youth Guarantee by increasing the pre-financing of the Youth Employment Initiative. In his State of the Union speech of 14 September 2016, President Juncker stressed his commitment to “continue to roll out the Youth Guarantee across Europe, improving the skillset of Europeans and reaching out to the regions and young people most in need." Progress so far Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: "The Youth Guarantee is now a reality across Europe and the financial support the EU delivers will be crucial to continue to support Member States in helping to get young people back into work or into education. Young people are our future and it is our shared responsibility to give each and every one of them an opportunity to succeed on the labour market". Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: "The measures and reforms implemented under the Youth Guarantee have made a difference in the lives of more than 9 million young people. The Youth Guarantee has supported important reforms to countries' educational systems, employment services, and partnerships to deliver better opportunities for young people. I am confident that with continued political commitment, sufficient resources and strong resolve, we will reap the benefits of the work carried out so far and have the results we are all striving for. Therefore the Commission has recently proposed to increase budget resources for the Youth Employment Initiative until 2020." The Communication adopted today reports on progress so far and shows that although youth unemployment remains a key concern in many Member States, young people's labour market performance in the EU has overall surpassed expectations since 2013. There are 1.4 million less young unemployed in the EU since 2013 and 900,000 less young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). These encouraging trends suggest that the Youth Guarantee, backed up by the Youth Employment Initiative, has helped make a difference on the ground. Around 9 million young people took up an offer, the majority of which were offers of employment. Moreover, the Youth Guarantee has been a catalyst for policy change, leading to structural reforms and policy innovation across Member States. The Youth Employment Initiative, a €6.4 billion targeted financial source mobilised at EU level, has been central to the swift set-up of national Youth Guarantee schemes and has provided direct support to over 1.4 million young NEETs living in those regions most in need. The 30% increase by the Commission in advance payments of the Initiative in 2015 to the eligible Member States - amounting to around €1 billion - played a significant role to provide readily available cash liquidity, allowing to speed up the launch of measures on the ground. Given this progress, the Commission has recently proposed to extend the budget resources of the Youth Employment Initiative and provide an additional €1 billion to the YEI specific budget allocation, matched by €1 billion from the European Social Fund. These €2 billion could make it possible to support around 1 million more young people until 2020 in the Member States most affected by youth unemployment. These measures come on top of financial allocations available under the ESF. The Communication adopted today underlines the need to accelerate and broaden the Youth Guarantee, and to speed up the implementation of the YEI. It recognises that more efforts need to be made to support "hard-to-reach" young people: youngsters who are not registered with the public employment services, are low-skilled, have dropped out of school, and face multiple barriers to entering the labour markets (such as poverty, social exclusion, disability and discrimination). In parallel, the quality of the offers and services provided to young people can be improved.