Europe's 'Status Quo Pandering' Risks "Radicalization Of An Entire Generation"

Tyler Durden's picture

It will come as no surprise to ZH readers that the topic of youth unemployment is critical in Europe but as Der Speigel reports, while the German government's efforts remain largely symbolic, Southern European leaders pander to older voters by defending the status quo and are failing in their fight against the potential for social unrest. One graduate noted, "None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a normal life," as a lost generation is taking shape in Europe. And European governments seem clueless; instead of launching effective education and training programs to prepare Southern European youth for a professional life after the crisis, the Continent's political elites preferred to wage old ideological battles. In this way, Europe wasted valuable time, at least until governments were shaken early this month by news of a very worrisome record: Unemployment among 15- to 24-year-olds has climbed above 60 percent in Greece. Suddenly Europe is scrambling to address the problem making it an 'obseesion'. There are strong words coming out of Europe's capitals today, but they have not been followed by any action to date.

 

 

Via Der Spiegel,

Stylia Kampani did everything right, and she still doesn't know what the future holds for her.

 

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"None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a normal life," says Kampani. "That wasn't quite the case four years ago."

 

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The unemployment rate among Greeks under 25 has been above 50 percent for months. The situation is similarly dramatic in Spain, Portugal and Italy. According to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, the rate of unemployment among young adults in the EU has climbed to 23.5 percent. A lost generation is taking shape in Europe. And European governments seem clueless..

 

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Instead of launching effective education and training programs to prepare Southern European youth for a professional life after the crisis, the Continent's political elites preferred to wage old ideological battles.

 

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These are strong words coming out of Europe's capitals today, but they have not been followed by any action to date.

 

For instance, in February the European Council voted to set aside an additional €6 billion ($7.8 billion) to fight youth unemployment by 2020, tying the package to a highly symbolic job guarantee. But because member states are still arguing over how the money should be spent, launching the package has had to be postponed until 2014.

 

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A recent Franco-German effort remains equally nebulous.

 

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Economists also argue that it's about time Europe did something about the problem. "The long-term prospects of young people in the crisis-ridden countries are extremely grim. This increases the risk of radicalization of an entire generation," warns Joachim Möller, director of Germany's Institute of Employment Research, a labor market think tank. "It was a mistake for politicians to acknowledge the problem but do nothing for so long,"

 

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The key to combating youth unemployment is to reform the divided labor market. But as an internal report by the German government shows, the crisis-stricken countries have hardly made any progress on this front.

 

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In Athens, young university graduate Stylia Kampani is now thinking of starting over. She is considering moving to Germany. And this time, she adds, she might stay there.