The Norwegian Fund for Youth Employment was launched in Brussels today. A total of EUR 60.6 million, or about NOK 550 million, is available for projects.
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.
‘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,’ said Mr Bakke-Jensen.
The fund covers all 15 beneficiary countries under the EEA and Norway Grants, as well as Ireland, Italy and Spain. At least two countries must cooperate when submitting proposals for projects. Norwegian institutions or organisations may participate as expert partners.
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,’ Mr Bakke-Jensen said.
The deadline for applications is 1 August, and it is expected that the first projects will start this autumn.
Facts about the EEA and Norway Grants:
• Norway is part of the European internal market through the EEA Agreement.
• The aim of the EEA and Norway Grants is to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.
• For the period 2014-2021, EUR 2.8 billion has been set aside under the EEA and Norway Grants for distribution among 15 beneficiary countries.
• Norway provides about 98 % of the EEA and Norway Grants. Iceland and Liechtenstein provide the rest.