1.7 Funding youth policy
How youth policy is funded
Since 2006, youth policies have been funded mainly by the National Fund for Youth Policies, established by art. 19, paragraph 2, of D.L. 223/2006. The Fund aims at promoting the right of young people to cultural and vocational training, inclusion in social life, inclusive housing, and facilitated access to credit.
Each year, the Fund is financed through the national budget law.
In 2023, financial law n. 197/2022 allocated to the National Fund for Youth Policies about € 85,9 million for national, regional and local programmes. In 2022, financial law n. 234/2021 allocated about € 90,864 million to the Fund (including €5 million for national activities implemented for the European Year of Youth).
The Universal Civic Service Fund finances the civic service programme on the basis of an annual programme agreed upon with its national advisory body (Consulta nazionale) and the State-Regions Conference. It operates under a special accounting regime as required by the law. For 2023 the Fund amounts to € 111,581,036. In addition, for 2023 the fund receives € 216,000,000 from the European Recovery Plan.
In 2022, the Fund had an endowment of € 311,581,036, and in 2021 of € 299,286,531.
What is funded
As of March 2023, the main national programmes financed through the National Fund for Youth Policies are the following:
- Play District (Spazi Civici di Comunità). The programme, which has a total budget of 10 million Euros, aims at promoting sport and social activities on the national territory. It finances projects implemented by amateur sports associations in partnership with local institutions (such as Municipalities, universities, schools, etc.) and the Third sector, aimed at setting up community civic spaces devoted to sport and social activities. The initiative targets young people between 14-34 years and in particular youth with fewer opportunities.
- Giovani in Biblioteca (Young People in Library). The programme promotes the creation of multipurpose meeting spaces within public libraries. Cultural activities are organized by public libraries in partnership with local authorities, universities and youth organizations. Beneficiaries are young people between 14-35 years of age.
- GIOVANI2030 is a web platform that offers information on existing opportunities for young people in the field of volunteering, training, education, culture, entertainment, and sport. The platform was inaugurated on May 6th 2021.
- National Youth Card (Carta Giovani nazionale, CGN). Since March 2021, the CGN offers discounts on goods, training and other services at national and European level. The CGN is linked to the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) of which the Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service became member (Cf. chapter 8.4).
At local level, the National Fund for youth policies finances projects proposed by local Authorities through special agreements with the Regions, the National Association of the Italian Municipalities (ANCI) and other institutional actors, including the Italian Youth Agency (AIG) and the National Youth Forum (now National Youth Council), or joint partnerships in projects proposed by diﬀerent subjects.
The Universal Civic Service Fund financed the participation of young volunteers in the aged group 18 to 29 in the national programme. For 2023, up to 51,600 placements are available, out of which 500,600 in Italy and 1,000 abroad.
Placements in Italy
As for March 2023, the following measures targeting young people are in place:
Bonus Cultura: a 500 Euros coupon to be spent for cultural activities. Beneficiaries are 18 year old people. This bonus has been active since 2016 and can be used to purchase books, tickets for concerts, museums, exhibitions and cultural events.
Bonus driving licence: it allows up to 2.500 Euros to cover the costs of the driving schools and licence.
Bonus rent: young people in the age group 20-31 can benefit from tax discounts up to 2.000 Euros per year.
Simplified loan to buy the first house for people under 36 years of age. This measure implies the exemption of payment for registration tax, mortgage and land registry. There is also the possibility to obtain a loan for better conditions having the State as a guarantee in case the subject would end up in default.
The Youth Credit Fund (or "Study Fund") allows deserving young people lacking sufficient financial means, to continue their studies after high school, enrolling in university or to attend post-graduate specialization courses or further knowledge of a language, thanks to a loan guaranteed by the State (up to a maximum amount of € 25,000).
The Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service finances measures aimed at younger generations through diﬀerent types of instruments. Therefore, the “financial responsibility” is diﬀerent based on the type of intervention.
With regard to the resources assigned to the Regions, full autonomy is recognized to these institutions. The resources are used directly by the Regions that send their monitoring tools (periodic reports and tables) to the Department that verifies the progress of the project activities. Therefore, this activity allows to obtain information on the use of the funds, providing useful elements to identify and assess any shortfalls and possible corrective actions.
The funds allocated to the Union of Italian Provinces (UPI), to the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), and to other organizations are expressly regulated by ad hoc agreements, which establish the procedures for monitoring the projects and the mutual responsibilities and commitments.
With regards to the funds assigned to private non-profit organizations, in order to guarantee public co-financing, the Administration requires the presentation of adequate bank guarantees or insurance policies for the first trance received; the guarantee must be valid for the whole duration of the project eligible for funding. The subsequent instalments are paid further to the presentation of adequate documentation of expenditure.
The institutions involved must also ensure compliance with legal, tax, social security and labour provisions, the traceability of financial flows and the anti-mafia certification.
In addition, the Department can carry out inspections at the project sites (by its representatives and/or specialized persons or companies specifically designated) to verify the progressive implementation of the activities.
The preventive supervision on the legality of the administrative action, which is the responsibility of the Department, is exercised by the Court of Auditors, which is an independent body.
The Office of the Budget Presidency of the Council of Ministers exercises the administrative-accounting regulatory control on all the expenses.
With regard to external responsibility, the principle of transparency, introduced by L. 15/2005, allows all citizens to verify the administrative procedures undertaken by the Public Administration.
The Public Administration disseminates information that must be made public in their own institutional websites under a section called “Transparent Administration”.
These publication requirements concern, among other things, the organization and the activities of public administrations, the use of public resources and the services provided. The principle of transparency promotes the prevention of corruption, including a “social control” by the citizens (the so-called “civic access”).
As previously reported, the Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service:
- is responsible for the financial planning, administrative and accounting management, and related disputes management of the National Fund for the civic service;
- is responsible for the management of European resources for the implementation of the projects assigned to the Department;
- verifies the correct use of the resources assigned for interventions of national relevance in the field of youth policies.
Use of EU funds*
For 2023, the Universal Civic Service receives € 216,000,000 from the European Recovery Plan.