Recovery and Resilience Facility: Parliament gives a voice to youth and children

 

Member States are currently facing the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic and social consequences of the pandemic have prominently been witnessed on young people who had to deal with multiple shocks including disruption to education and training, employment and income losses, and greater difficulties in finding a job.

The Parliament understood and delivered on Monday 9 an integrated and visionary response to the pandemic through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the core of EU’s recovery package post COVID-19. Members of BUDG-ECON Committees granted a strong mandate and voted with a broad majority the RRF report presented by co-rapporteurs Dragoş Pîslaru (Renew/RO), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D/ES) and Siegfried Mureșan (EPP/RO). The instrument puts forward 672.5 billion euros for reforms and investments that Member States need to present in a comprehensive recovery and resilience national plan.

“We had a duty towards our citizens, young people and children to succeed and to move this historical recovery plan forward. Six pillars of European priorities are put forward by the European Parliament in an ambitious and forward looking agenda for reforms and investments in line with existing EU strategies, and I want to highlight that I personally wish to see the Child Guarantee and Youth Guarantee among them”, said Dragoș Pîslaru, Renew co-rapporteur on the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The report has an ambition to foster reforms and investments for children and youth in all Member States, otherwise EU money will not be granted:

  • Member States will need to reflect the objectives of the Child Guarantee and Youth Guarantee in their plans (Article 3)
  • Member States will need to dedicate at least 7% of the amounts allocated for their plans to measures for children and youth, upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning. (Articles 3, 15 &16)
  • Youth voices and actions are part of the solutions and part of the recovery. Member States will need to prepare and implement their plan through a multilevel dialogue with local and regional authorities, social partners and civil society organisations, in particular youth organisations. (Articles 14, 15 & 16)
  • The national recovery plans need to align with the Union’s Gender Equality Strategy and propose key actions to address the negative impact of the crisis on gender equality. (Articles 14, 15 & 16)

What can you do ?

The Parliament started the negotiations with the Council of the EU and the Commission. MEPs showed solidarity and made sure that the voices of the next generation are not pushed aside, but well represented and defended. Now they need your help to defend their position and in particular Articles 3, 14 and 16!

=> You can endorse these messages on social media!

=> You can promote this vision to organizations in your member state!

=> You can contact your government and ask them to support that 7% of the national Recovery and Resilience plans is dedicated to the next generation pillar!

Why do we need dedicated reforms for the Next Generation?

According to a study conducted by ILO, there are 178 million young workers around the world, almost half of them were working in hard-hit sectors when the crisis began. Even before the crisis, more than 267 million young people were not in employment, education or training (NEET), including almost 68 million unemployed young people. A global survey conducted by ILO and Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth reveals that over one in six young people surveyed have stopped working since the onset of the COVID‑19 crisis. Moreover, around half of young students report a likely delay in the completion of their current studies, while 10 per cent expect to be unable to complete them at all. On a standardized scale of mental well-being, more than half of the young people surveyed have become vulnerable to anxiety or depression since the start of the pandemic.

Impacts such as these exacerbate inequalities and risk reducing the productive potential of an entire generation. These numbers make us understand that this moment requires more than ever an urgent, efficient and coordinated response to help rebuild Europe’s recovery and resilience.

Why the European Parliament’s proposal best reflects the need of the Next Generation?

Have you tried searching the Council document for the words “child” and “children”? Do it and you’ll find no reference. Not a single reference to children. And a bare reference to “youth” in an annex. How can we propose measures for the next generation if youth and children are not in our scope? How can we renew Europe if we don’t pay any attention to children to youth?

The Parliament committed that the next generation of Europeans will never become a ‘lockdown generation’, as Dragoș Pîslaru well explained in his statement:

“The most important pillar for me is, unfortunately, the one that has been initially forgotten. The recovery instrument was part of what was called NextGenerationEU. I will ensure that the name will not remain just a cynical mention of who is going to pay the bill in the future, but that the plan is meant to repair and prepare a better future for the next generation. I feel the need to remind everyone that each reform and investment needs to have a long-term vision, on that thinks about its future generations, both when they’re young, and also when they’ll grow old, especially given the demographic challenges at the EU level. I therefore propose a pillar dedicated to the next generation, which should put skills and education at the core of the recovery and invest in access and opportunity for children and youth in an integrated approach. We need to ensure that the next generation of Europeans will not become a “lockdown” generation. The RRF will dedicate at least 7% of its total amount for reforms and investments for youth, children, long-life learning and skills”, he added.