Monday 19 February 2018

€8bn EU fund will help tackle 30pc Irish youth jobless rate

Enda Kenny addresses a news conference at the end of the EU summit in Brussels.
Enda Kenny addresses a news conference at the end of the EU summit in Brussels.

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THE Government is set to tap into the EU's new €8bn youth unemployment fund to hike the number of training places for young people in the Budget.

There are already 85,000 people in various training schemes at the cost of €1bn.

But from January onwards, the State will be able to draw down EU cash from the new fund to tackle the 30pc youth unemployment rate.

It is understood that the October Budget is likely to contain extra training places for young people aged under 25 as a result.

At the EU summit in Brussels, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said funding to tackle the "blight" of youth unemployment across the EU was now available due to the agreement reached on the overall €960bn EU Budget.

"This is a real fundamental challenge for the EU and I expect leaders and their governments to rise to meet the challenge," he said.

Under the youth guarantee, young people are due to get an offer of training or education if they are out of work for four months.

The first youth unemployment project is likely to be rolled out in Ballymun in Dublin, where almost one-third of people on the dole are under 25.

Local Labour TD John Lyons said he was hopeful of a positive outcome because the unemployment rate was even higher than the national average.

The rolling out of the youth guarantee is expected to be raised at next week's meeting on jobs between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The event will also be attended by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, who has been involved in the negotiations on the youth guarantee.

In his speech to wrap up the Irish EU presidency, Mr Kenny said the agreement reached on the €1.2bn Common Agricultural Policy would deliver improvements for millions of farmers and consumers.

"This has been one of our presidency's most important achievements," he said.

Mr Kenny continued his campaign to get a deal on the €30bn pumped by the taxpayer into AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

He called on EU leaders to deliver on their year-old pledge to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereign countries.


And he highlighted how the Irish EU presidency had got agreement that bank bondholders and large savers would have to pay the cost of future bank bailouts. "These new rules will see to it that taxpayers should not again have to shoulder the burden of bailing out our banks," he said.

European Council president Herman Van Rompuy praised the six-month Irish EU presidency for three major achievements – getting agreement on the €960bn EU budget, opening talks on an EU-US free-trade agreement after a 20-year freeze, and putting new bank bailout rules in place.

"I want to warmly congratulate Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his team for a more-than-excellent Irish presidency of the council," he said.

And there was also praise from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso – a big rival of Mr Van Rompuy – who congratulated Mr Kenny and his team of civil servants on the deals they had agreed.

"It is a really impressive amount of work and the results indeed are impressive," he said.

Irish Independent

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