BRUSSELS--European Union leaders have agreed to increase the money set aside to fight youth unemployment to at least 8 billion euros from an earlier target of EUR6 billion, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Friday.
"There will be substantially more, at least EUR8 billion in total," Mr. Van Rompuy told journalists after a regular summit meeting in the EU capital.
The 27 EU governments had earlier proposed setting aside EUR6 billion in the bloc's next seven-year budget that will be used in part to fund a "youth guarantee," ensuring that young people have access to a job, apprenticeship or further education within four months of leaving school.
However, some leaders had argued that EUR6 billion--less than 1% of the bloc's budget--to be disbursed over the next two years wouldn't be nearly enough to make a dent in the problem.
Speaking to reporters after the summit, Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta said an extra EUR3 billion would likely be made available to reduce sky-high youth unemployment rates in countries hardest hit by the crisis.
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(Matthew Dalton and Giada Zampano in Brussels contributed to this article.)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires