Press Releases S&Ds Group: Progressives lead reform of Youth Guarantee to end unpaid internships in the EU

S&Ds Group: Progressives lead reform of Youth Guarantee to end unpaid internships in the EU

Today, the employment committee in the European Parliament followed the lead of the Socialists and Democrats and voted for important improvements to the Youth Guarantee, especially on quality criteria and pay for internships. With this vote the MEPs have called on the Commission and member states to end, once and for all, the practice of unpaid internships in the EU labour market by introducing a common legal instrument ensuring and enforcing fair pay for internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.

Brando Benifei, S&D MEP responsible for the Youth Guarantee, said:

“With today’s vote, the employment committee not only demands a much-needed and profound reform of the Youth Guarantee, in particular by introducing binding quality criteria for job and traineeship offers, but also calls for a review of the Quality Framework for Traineeships. The principle of fair remuneration, and the use of all available resources, including the SURE instrument, must be ensured now more than ever to support young people in need.

“The Youth Guarantee has helped millions of young people to cross the threshold to gainful employment. The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is once again creating huge obstacles for young people to find quality jobs.  The danger of exploitation is very real. It’s time to do more. In our amendments, which were adopted in today’s vote, we called the practice of unpaid internships by its true name: a form of labour exploitation and a violation of young people’s rights. Unpaid internships and traineeships must be banned in European labour markets. The European Parliament stands by the right of millions of young Europeans to be treated fairly in the workplace to improve their economic and social conditions. Thanks to the S&D Group, youth rights are put once again on top of the European Union’s agenda. We will defend our achievements in plenary. “

Agnes Jongerius MEP, S&D spokesperson for employment, added:

“The Youth Guarantee has already helped millions of young Europeans into jobs and training. Now that the COVID-19 crisis is hitting employment hard, the Youth Guarantee can help to prevent a ‘lost generation’ from growing up in Europe. I am proud that my political family was instrumental in creating the Youth Guarantee and we are now working to strengthen it further to be up to the new challenges. We must do our utmost to avoid young people becoming trapped in a vicious circle of unpaid traineeships, precarious work or unemployment.”

Note to editors:

Following a campaign by the Party of European Socialists and the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and a proposal spearheaded by socialist EU Commissioner László Andor, the EU Youth Guarantee was established through a Council recommendation adopted in April 2013. More than 16 million young people have entered national Youth Guarantee schemes since 2014 and 10 million of them have taken up an offer of employment, training, an internship or apprenticeship.

The Youth Guarantee scheme aims to ensure that every young person under 30 receives a good-quality offer of a job, training, internship or apprenticeship within four months of registering with a job centre. The Youth Guarantee has helped to reduce youth unemployment and the number of young people neither in employment, education or training (NEETs) across Europe.

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