There can be no doubt that young people have been hit hardest by the crisis that has unfolded across Europe over the last five years. What is more, the austerity policies that have been implemented by both national governments and the European Commission have aggravated the situation, strangling growth that would create desperately needed jobs for young Europeans.
The figures make for stark reading: 23.4% of under 25s are unemployed across the EU, with the number hitting 55.5% in Spain and a chilling 58.3% in Greece (see Eurostat figures here.) These figures only include young people “actively seeking work”, masking the despair of tens of thousands of young Europeans who have given up the search knowing that they will not find anything.
In March, EPSU and the other European trade union federations launched a joint campaign calling on the EU institutions and employers to put youth at the top of their agenda. Under the slogan “Enough of their crisis – back to our future”, the ETUFs have set out their demands for the next European Parliament and Commission mandate period: immediate and effective action to release the mortgage on young people’s future in the European labour market resulting from the European crisis and policies.
Public services across Europe have been hit by massive redundancies, whilst demand for services is rising. EPSU’s message is clear: Public Services are Europe’s strength. They are the solution, not the problem. Creating quality jobs in public services would not only benefit young people in search of work, but would boost the wider economy and improve provision of these essential services that all citizens rely on.
This is a struggle not just for young people and the unemployed but for all public service workers. Young unemployment risks blighting an entire generation of Europeans, as well as being used as a battering ram of supress wages for all.