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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, including housing, to facilitate access to credit.
Each year, the Fund is financed through the national budget law. In 2019, over €37 million were allocated for national, regional and local interventions by L. 145/2018. In 2020, the Fund allocated was about €36 million (L. 160/2019).
On August 4th 2021, the Unified Conference of the State, Regions and Autonomous Provinces and the System of Local Autonomies sanctioned Agreement no. rep 104/CU on the breakdown of the increase of € 35 million for the year 2021 of the "National Fund for Youth Policies" pursuant to art. 19, paragraph 2, of the decree law 4 July 2006, n. 223, converted, with modifications, by the law 4 August 2006, n. 248.
For 2022, the Fund is 81,400 million.
The Universal Civic Service Fund, with an endowment of € 299,286,531.00 for 2021, finances the civic service programme on the basis of an annual programme approved by the State-Regions Conference, and operates under a special accounting regime as required by the law. The Fund for 2020 amounted to € 224,133,221.11 (of which € 41,806,354.11 management savings) and in 2019 to € 231,765,320.00 (of which € 44,050,000.00 management savings). The finances used for the implementation of the intervention programmes of the Civic Service are 311.581.036,00 for 2022 (current legislation). At the paragraph 2.4 there are more insights on this specific aspect.
Part of the national interventions finds financial support from other specific dedicated funds, for example the Youth Credit Fund and the Guarantee Fund for mortgages for the first home (the latter managed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance).
Moreover, since 2013, the Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service manages the funds of the Action and Cohesion Plan (ACP) which finances projects carried out by Third Sector organizations in the 5 “Convergence” Objective Regions (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Apulia and Sicily).
What is funded
As of February 2021, the main national programmes financed through the National Fund for Youth Policies are the following:
"Enzymes” ("Fermenti") call for projects: it financed 101 youth entrepreneurship projects of a social and cohesive nature lasting 18 months, proposed by young people between 18 and 35 years of age, and aimed at improving the living conditions of young people and their community. The overall budget was approximately € 19 million. There are five “social challenges” identified as priorities:
“Equality for all genders”;
“Inclusion and participation”;
“Training and culture”;
“Spaces, environment and territory”;
“Autonomy, welfare, well-being and health”.
"Support for young talents" ("Sostegno ai giovani talenti") call for projects: funds initiatives in support of talents and creativity of young people between 18 and 35 years old. Total funding: € 2.5 million. The projects are implemented by the Third Sector and last up to 24 months. The activities are close to conclusion;
“Prevention and contrast to youth distress” ("Prevenzione e contrasto al disagio giovanile") call for projects: financed, with resources from several funds, initiatives to prevent and combat youth distress in favour of young people between 14 and 28 years, promoting their social inclusion, with 8.5 million euros, of which 1 million euros coming from the Fund for Youth Policies. The activities are nearing completion;
“Young talents orientation and placement”("Orientamento e placement giovani talenti") call for projects: aims to promote job placement for young people between 15 and 28 years, to support the self-entrepreneurship of young talents, and the link between education and the labour market. With a total funding of € 4.5 million, the call finances 33 project proposals;
GIOVANI2030 web platform: offers news, insights on volunteering, training, education, culture, entertainment, sport, describing the opportunities to be had to grow in a participatory way (see chapter 8.4). The platform was inaugurated on May 6th 2021. Funds allocated in 2020 € 2.5 million;
National Youth Card (CGN): from mid-March 2021, the CGN allows for concessions to access goods, services and opportunities on the national and European territory. The Charter is linked to the European Charter managed by the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) which the Department for Youth Policies and Universal Civil Service joined (see chapter 8.4). Allocated funds: 5 ml for each of the years included in the three-year period 2020-2022.
At a 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 National Agency for Youth (ANG) and the National Youth Forum (now National Youth Council), or joint partnerships in projects proposed by diﬀerent subjects.
For 2020, the Fund financed the project proposals of the 19 Regions, for a total budget of approximately € 8.7 million (in 2019 approximately € 9.7 million). The municipalities, through the ANCI, have been allocated a total of approximately € 7.4 million (in 2019 approximately € 8.2 million), and to the Provinces, through the Union of Italian Provinces (UPI), approximately € 1 million (in 2019 approximately € 1.1 million).
In the Agreement made with the Regions, Autonomous Provinces and the system of local autonomies at the Unified Conference for 2020, it was established that the priority areas of intervention are the following: • social inclusion; • participation of young people in the social and political life of their territories; • support for autonomy and promotion of the participation of young people in cultural and sporting activities; • non-formal education; • prevention and measures against new addictions.
With the 2022 Financial Law, Government has also introduced some measures targeting young people
- Bonus Cultura: a 500 euros coupon to be spent in cultural activities for people who have just turned 18. This bonus has been active since 2016 and allows to buy many products and services, from books to tickets for concerts, museums, exhibitions as well as cultural events and many others. The system is called 18app and the only requirement is to sign-up and provide your data in order to spend the bonus as you like.
- Bonus wedding: targeting people living in Lazio that can ask for up to 2.000 euros to cover the expenses for their wedding.
- Bonus driving licence: it allows a maximum of 2.500 euros to cover the costs for applying to driving schools and take the final exam.
- Bonus rent: until 31 years old it’s possible to have benefits for the signing of leasing contracts for an entire property or a portion of it to be used as a main accommodation. The bonus includes a tax benefit for the first four years, a deduction of the gross tax for 20% of the lease fee up to 2.000 euros.
- Simplified loan for people under 36 who decide to buy a house. This measure implies the execution of payment for different expenses: registration tax, the mortgage and the 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 Universal Civic Service Fund financed the participation in the national volunteering programme of 42.050 volunteers (aged 18 to 29) in 2019 and 31.866 in 2020. For 2021 the first data on volunteer initiations, show that by May 25th 2021, 26.360 young people has started the civic service. The call included the participation of 55.793 young people, meaning that 47,2% of them have already started. On the 9th of March 2022 it was closed the selection to apply for 56.205 places for the civic service to be held in Italy or abroad between 2022 and 2023 within one of the 2.818 projects of the civic service
Deployed in Italy
In 2020, through the funds of the Action and Cohesion Plan (ACP) the following calls for projects were approved:
• the “Youth for the social” (Giovani per il Sociale) call, for a total amount of € 9 million, dedicated to private social entities to finance projects of social inclusion and personal growth for young people between 14 and 35 years of age; • the “Young people for the enhancement of public goods” (Giovani per la valorizzazione dei beni pubblici) call, for a total amount of € 5 million, aimed at creating spaces for young people in renovated public buildings.
The Youth Credit Fund (or "Study Fund") allows deserving young people, but 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 initiative does not constitute a “non-repayable” grant, but it is a “revolving” guarantee fund financed by the DPGSCU as part of access to credit. The repayment of the loans has to be done over a period in between three and fifteen years. The purposes and methods of use of the Fund - whose initial endowment was € 20 million - were determined by the Inter-ministerial Decree of 19 November 2010 (issued by the Ministers of Youth and the Economy and Finance).
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 regularity 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*
Through the 2014-2020 Partnership Agreement, Italy identified its own strategy, priorities and methods of use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
The total community resources assigned to Italy are reported below:
For the two Structural Funds of the cohesion policy - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) € 32.7 billion have been allocated (instead of the € 31.1 billion allocated in the previous programming);
For the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) the resources allocated are € 10.4 billion, while for the European Fund for Maritime Aﬀairs and Fisheries (EFMAF) the resources allocated are € 537 million.
These two funds do not specifically finance youth policies. However, social inclusion and professional development are part of their objectives, thus they can finance projects that benefit young people.
In addition, Italy is the second largest recipient among the Member States of the Youth Employment Initiative.
The thematic objective of the National Operational Plan (NAP) Youth Employment Initiatives (YEI) Axis 1 Youth Employment NEET consists of promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting worker mobility. The financial allocation for the Youth Guarantee programme amounts to €
1.513.363.329 (out of which € 567.5 million from the YEI, the same amount from the ESF, and € 378 million from national co-financing).
Resources were allocated to the Regions taking into account the unemployment rate of the age group 15-24 (based on data of the 2012 ISTAT survey).
The Youth Guarantee will continue until 2020, thanks to additional European resources, which amount to € 343 million for Italy.
In January 2022 it has been launched the formal negotiation with the European Commission for what concerns the programming period 2021-2027, following the deal reached in the unified conference on December 16th 2021 with the approval of the CIPESS during the session of December 22nd 2021, according to the article 10 and ensuing of the EU Regulation 2021/1060, reporting the common arrangements on funds. The activities have been launched since 2019 and they have been initially organized into five thematical tables, one for each Strategic Objectives of Policy (OP), content of the EU Regulation 2021/1060.
*The information included in this section refers to the European seven-year programming period 2014-2020 and will be updated as soon as the new data related to the 2021 - 2027 programming period will be available.