The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of the EU Youth Guarantee. It is integrated into European Social Fund (ESF) programming as a dedicated priority axis within the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 (PEIL). The specific YEI allocation for Ireland of €68m (for 2014 and 2015) is matched by equal amounts from our ESF allocation and from the Exchequer, giving an overall allocation of €204m. Ireland was not eligible for an additional allocation under the second YEI allocation arising from the mid-term revision of the Multi-annual Financial Framework in 2017, which was focussed on those Member States with youth unemployment rates of higher than 25% in 2016.
All ESF activities, including YEI activities, are fully funded up-front by the Exchequer with the EU (ESF/YEI) funding being claimed in arrears.
The first payment application in respect of the PEIL, which included €112.25m in respect of YEI activities, was submitted to the European Commission in November 2018 resulting in receipts of €67.35m in respect of the YEI/ESF contributions towards the YEI activities. A further payment application was submitted in June 2019 which included €4.75m in respect of YEI activities resulting in receipts of €2.84m.
Further payment applications are in the course of preparation for submission to the Commission this year and it is expected that they will include some €50m in respect of YEI activities. If realised this will bring the total YEI expenditure declared in payment applications to some €167m, leaving €37m to be declared in 2020 or subsequently.
The ESF authorities will ensure that sufficient payment applications are submitted to fully drawdown the YEI/ESF funding allocations.