EU allocates funds to combat long-term unemployment

Green Forum
The European Commission has initiated a call for proposals, allocating €23 million to assist EU Member States in devising innovative strategies to combat long-term unemployment and facilitate individuals' reintegration into the workforce. 

This initiative, outlined in the recent EU action plan addressing labor and skills shortages, aims to leverage the "Social Innovation+" arm of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) to bolster the efforts of social economy organizations. These organizations prioritize social and environmental objectives, reinvesting a significant portion of their earnings into initiatives aimed at supporting individuals affected by prolonged joblessness.

Addressing Long-Term Unemployment Challenges

Despite record-high employment rates in the EU, long-term unemployment—defined as individuals out of work for over a year—remains a persistent issue across Member States. In 2022, the EU registered 4.5 million individuals aged 25 and above as long-term unemployed. The Commission recognizes that prolonged unemployment exacerbates the risk of poverty and social exclusion, necessitating innovative interventions beyond conventional training programs that lack personalized support.

Innovative Solutions: Job Guarantees and Beyond

Recent EU-backed research underscores the efficacy of innovative strategies, such as "job guarantees," in facilitating the reintegration of long-term unemployed individuals into the labor market. These initiatives aim to match individuals with suitable employment opportunities tailored to their skills and local community needs. Notably, job guarantee schemes not only foster economic independence and professional development but also contribute to local service provision and bridge labor and skills gaps.

Exemplary Initiatives

The report on "Job Guarantees and Other Innovative Approaches" showcases successful initiatives from various EU Member States, including:

The Marienthal Job Guarantee Pilot in Austria provides fair-wage employment opportunities to long-term unemployed individuals.
France's Zero Long-Term Unemployment Territories initiative assesses individuals' skills and aspirations to create tailored job placements addressing community needs, reallocating savings from cash benefits to fund these positions.
Belgium's introduction of 17 zero long-term unemployment territories in Wallonia, supported by the European Social Fund Plus.
Germany's Solidary Basic Income initiative in Berlin, offering 1,000 job opportunities to individuals unemployed for up to five years, aimed at combating long-term joblessness.
These initiatives not only offer immediate employment prospects but also foster long-term economic and social inclusion, empowering individuals to reengage with the broader labor market.

Green Forum  |  17 May, 2024 at 9:00 AM