The European Court of Auditors reported on Tuesday that the European Union’s Youth Guarantee Programme, the goal of which is to help young people without work, qualifications or training, has seen “limited progress” and that the results are “below expectations”.

The European auditors visited Spain, Ireland, France, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, and Slovakia to prepare their report on the progress of this initiative, through which Member States should ensure that all young people receive a decent employment offer, on-going education, training, or work experience within four months after ending their studies or being out of work.

The Court of Auditors concluded in the study that these seven countries have made progress implementing the Youth Guarantee Programme and have achieved some results, but none of them has been able to ensure that all young people without work, studies, or training have the opportunity to accept an offer within a period of four months.

The member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report, Iliana Ivanova, mentioned that there were more than 4 million unemployed people under the age of 25 in the EU in 2016, and she emphasised that “those responsible for preparing policies should ensure that the programmes created to help young people do not generate impossible expectations”.

In the case of the Youth Guarantee Programme, the European auditors have noted a lack of strategies with “intermediate results and clear targets” in order to reach all young people who need work, studies, and training. In addition, the report criticises that the countries have not assessed the total cost or the funds available, and that the poor quality of the data hindered the assessment of the results.

With regard to the Youth Employment Initiative, the European Court of Auditors pointed out that the evaluations carried out to determine the target population were “inadequate” and that there was a “risk” that community funding was replacing national funding “instead of being an added value”.

Equally, the report notes that the inadequate quality of the data “made it difficult to measure the results achieved”, which in any case were “below expectations”. The Youth Employment Initiative has a budget of 6,400 million euros to increase the aid available to the most severely affected regions and people.

As a result, the European Court of Auditors outlined a series of recommendations for Member States and the European Commission, such as managing expectations through realistic goals and targets, assessing deviations, and performing market surveys before implementing the initiatives, and improving monitoring and notification systems.

The specific recommendations for Member States include facilitating a comprehensive overview of the costs arising from implementing the Youth Guarantee Programme and adapting initiatives to available funding, in addition to ensuring that job, education, and training offers adapt to the profile of the participants and to the needs of the labour market.