Can Europe Do Better?

Liz Emerson reports on a European study that aims to give young British people a voice on the future of Europe
IF is helping to support the work of “EuropeCanDoBetter”, an ambitious international study from the Change Centre Foundation that aims to give Polish, Spanish, German and British young people a voice in political discourse on the future design of Europe.

Young people across the four countries will be asked what they consider to be the greatest challenges facing them and how these challenges can be addressed in order to make clear demands on politicians and on civil society.

Twenty people will then be invited to meet and discuss the issues raised with other young people from the participating countries, all expenses paid!

It is no secret that Europe’s young people are facing the worst prospects for generations. In December 2014 Eurostat reported that 4.96 million under-25s were unemployed in the EU-28 countries, with Spain leading the field at 51.4% followed by Greece at 50.6%, Croatia at 44.8%, and Italy at 42%. While youth unemployment levels appear to be falling, the current level is still two-thirds higher than pre-crisis levels.

Prolonged youth unemployment leads to a “scarring effect” that ruins the long-term prospects of the young people involved and leads to wage penalties of 12–15% by 42 years of age.

But there are other issues facing young people across Europe. These include high living costs, transport costs, democratic disenfranchisement, lack of voting power, and a rapidly ageing population that will increasingly need support.

The team of six social and political scientists will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative social and political science research in what they term a “research and dialogue project”. They are looking for young people aged 20–30 years of age who are actively involved in a community cause and who are willing to participate in three rounds of an online survey in order to identify the key issues that concern young people.

The survey can be accessed by following this link.