The European Union announced Wednesday that it will initiate a new strategy ‘shared commitment for employment’ to help state members tackle the employment impact of the economic crisis.

The new strategy will make available €19 billion to support people hit by the economic crisis under the European Social Fund.

The fund will help people to stay in work or move towards new jobs, through upgrading skills, encouraging entrepreneurship and improving public employment services.

Europe took swift action to respond to the financial and economic crisis, including its social dimension. Today the Commission is taking a further step towards shared commitment and coordinated action by the EU, Member States and social partners to save and create jobs, said President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Together with the European Investment Bank Group and other partners, EU will set up new loan to provide micro-credits for those who would usually have difficulty accessing the necessary funds to set up a business or micro-enterprise.

We already helps more than 9 million people a year to find jobs and we will create a new €500 million micro-credit facility to support entrepreneurs and at a national level we want to see 5 million young Europeans have access to apprenticeships, Barroso said.

This crisis started in the financial sector but its effects are now being felt by everyone, said Vladimir Spidla, EU Commissioner for Employment.

We have been working closely over recent months with national governments and with workers' and employers' organizations on the best ways to tackle the social impacts of the crisis.

In particular, we need to focus on getting young people into work, and we must not let them miss their entry into the labor market, he added.

The proposal will be presented to EU leaders for their agreement at the European Council on 18-19 June.