The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment was launched today at Norway House in Brussels. The Norwegian State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elsbeth Tronstad, Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU, Sabine Monauni, and Ragnar G. Kristjánsson, Deputy Head of Iceland’s Mission to the EU, were among the speakers.
European solutions to European challenges
Through the Fund, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will work to identify and develop measures that work, and that others can copy. With a total of EUR 60.6 million over a period of seven years, we aim to support transnational project initiatives that promote sustainable and quality youth employment.
The purpose of the fund is to finance pilot projects that help young people find employment as well as to transfer measures that work in one country to others. Funding has also been set aside for research on why some measures have a greater effect than others.
Complementing EU efforts in the field
"Unemployment has become entrenched in Europe. The younger generation in many countries is particularly hard hit. We must do whatever we can to prevent a generation being lost. The effects of unemployment are serious for the individual concerned and undermine our confidence in the ability of our social model to safeguard our welfare and standard of living," says Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Frank Bakke-Jensen.
Sabine Monauni, Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU, underlines that education and professional training for young people remain an important priority for Liechtenstein through the new Fund:
"The future of Europe depends on the future of the young people in Europe. The current situation of youth unemployment in Europe cannot be accepted and undermines the European project. Education and professional training for young people have always been a national priority in Liechtenstein. We are therefore pleased that the fight against youth unemployment has become a central part of the new Fund and we are ambitious to complement the efforts by the EU in this field."
Sharing expertise and know-how
Entities in the 15 beneficiary countries of the EEA and Norway Grants and Ireland, Italy and Spain are eligible for funding. At least two countries must cooperate when submitting proposals for projects. Institutions and organisations in the three donor countries and other EU member countries may participate in the projects as expertise partners, sharing their expertise, experience and know-how.
Importance is placed on engaging the business sector in projects linked to apprentice or mentoring schemes and other training programmes. Assessments of the EU youth guarantee scheme show that it has difficulty in reaching certain target groups. Among them are the long-term unemployed, the 25- to 29-year-olds, ethnic minorities and the disabled.
"That is why these vulnerable groups are a priority for the fund. It is our goal that some of these projects will be pilot projects for major EU programmes," Minister Bakke-Jensen says.
The deadline for applications is 1 August.
Would you like to find out more about the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment? Visit our new webpage www.eeagrants.org/fundforyouthemployment for more information.
Download the Call for Proposals here.