- The EU must triple its funding for Erasmus+ and the Youth Employment Initiative programmes in order to combat the serious adversities the youth in Europe are facing.
The critical situation of the European youth
Nowadays, young people in Europe live in constant fear of being mistreated by local, regional, state or European governments. They suffer the most catastrophic unemployment figures of the last century and face different state governments continuously cutting in education and youth policies, especially in the social sector.
The economic and financial crisis is affecting youth more than anyone and their voices are being stifled, for instance by trying to shut down several Youth Councils. At this moment the European youth faces the highest youth unemployment figures in the EU-era, while the European Commission keeps on spending more money on unattainable and backward looking programmes rather than in social and youth oriented projects to prepare for the future.
In the field of education, we are still seeing how different governments raise university grants and other financial and/or technical barriers which increase the difficulty in accessing higher education and training, or how they rule against minority or unofficial languages, trying to put local cultures aside.
The youth does not feel respected by governments that do not play their crucial role in assisting in youth emancipation and education, or that use the police, detentions and fines in order to harass our peoples’ youth organisations when involved in peaceful demonstrations against the reductions in social and national rights and freedoms. Access to housing, starter jobs and education is becoming more and more expensive and complicated, forcing the youth to seek for a better situation away from their families, friends and home countries.
Emigration in the last five years has become a common story among the youth in Southern and Eastern Europe, where thousands of young people had to pack their luggage, buy a cheap ticket to the UK or Germany, and look for a job there. Salaries have been continuously falling to mid 80s levels, despite the cost of living ever increasing, making it unaffordable to live in their home countries.
A u-turn in these policies is needed, and soon. The European Union has a crucial role to play in order to prevent the loss of a whole generation, because a society with a lost youth generation becomes a society without future, doomed to failure.
From EFAy we propose to re-engage the European Union with its youth by urgently tripling the EU funding for the Erasmus+ programme and for the Youth Employment Initiative in order to provide all young people leaving the school system with a job, an internship or at least training in their own home countries. It is a must to encourage the job creation for young people with social measures in this way, as well as to open the access to higher education to anyone: a well educated society is always a richer society.