Europe’s youth and the European Parliament

Europe’s youth and the European Parliament

Europe, now has more older people, than young people. Life expectancy has increased and birth rates have declined. Pensions and long-term care cost will stretch Europe’s economies. The economic burden of an ageing population will be carried on the shoulders of today’s young Europeans. But are they equipped for the future of Europe? And what can the European Parliament do to help? We spoke with several young Europeans asking
them to explain the challenges they see for young people in Europe and what the European Parliament can do to help. EMPLOYMENT Youth unemployment has damaged the perception of the European project. The economic crisis caused youth unemployment to rise to devastating levels in many countries across Europe, particularly in Greece, Spain and Italy. Today, the situation is slowly improving, but convincing Europe’s youth that the European Union has their interests at heart, got much harder. Unemployment is the most important concern
about the European Union. Getting a good job when I graduate, and being able to afford somewhere to live when I’m older. EDUCATION Education is the cornerstone of Europe’s economic strategy. Matching education with skills gaps is critical to achieving the innovation which powers Europe’s exports and provides rewarding careers for Europe’s young citizens. The European Parliament was at the forefront of the new Erasmus Plus programme, which enhanced the hugely successful Erasmus system. Erasmus Plus is enabling many young Europeans
to benefit from the deep cultural and educational experience of studying in another country. Since its inception, thirty years ago, more
than nine million students have benefited directly from the Erasmus programme. About Erasmus, I believe that it’s a great project and idea. I think it should be more market focused in order to assist people to obtain the required market relevant skills. There’s a kind of a skills gap, education
institutions are not providing their students all the means they will need. FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT Freedom of movement has been one of Europe’s greatest successes. In most of Europe’s Member States, this
generation of young people has never known internal borders. But the threat of terrorism and the challenges
of the migration crisis have threatened freedom of movement. But closing Europe’s borders, and restricting
freedom of movement, is perhaps the greatest threat to Europe’s economy, and public perception
of the European project. I’m very concerned by the rise of populism
in Europe and the rise of extremist parties. People are scared of the ones they don’t know. Obviously, Brexit. DIGITAL ECONOMY Key to driving Europe’s economy is innovation. Creating a digital single marketplace is one
of the European Parliament’s key objectives in the coming years, and as early adopters
of new technology, Europe’s young citizens have a key role to play in shaping the digital
single market. Boosting Europe’s global digital impact
will depend on Europe’s speed of deployment for 5G technology, and on the willingness
of young Europeans to stay in Europe, building careers in enterprising, ambitious companies. ENTREPRENEURSHIP Keeping Europe’s intellectual and entrepreneurial talent in the European Union will depend on the risk-taking mentality of today’s youth. Do they see California as a tech paradise,
or will they commit to Europe, creating products, services and intellectual property, and sowing
the seeds of a new digital revolution? To encourage entrepreneurship, the European
Parliament has been instrumental in improving insolvency rules and reducing red tape for
start-ups. And European funds have been made available to stimulate entrepreurship. The European Parliament and the European Commission
should find ways to assist people to obtain their required skills. For the European Union, budget is so small the difference they can have and the impact they can have on the lives of young people is only very marginal. WHAT CAN THE PARLIAMENT DO The main challenges that Europe has to face are unemployement, refugees crisis, and Eurozone crisis. And having been in the parliament and participated
here with the MEPs, what do you think the parliament can actually do to solve this problem of youth unemployment to give a greater direction, a greater hope for young people? Because of that opportunity at the European
Parliament I could present myself as a European outside Europe. The members of the European Parliament should
take their mandate in a different way, they don’t have to come to Brussels once a week and then working on national issues. The reason why the European Parliament should have a bigger role in the politcal sphere, in the EU institutions, is because they are clearly the one representing the citizen at the European level. MEPs could do a bit more to connect with voters and with young people. Open their eyes and take into account some academics. Promote more information informing young people. Inform more of the European citizens about the benefits that the regulations have for them. It just needs to think about a lot of initiatives also to educate people. To let them know why some changes might be good, so they’re aware of it. I think very often Europeans just don’t know. Next month our Euractiv network partners look in more detail at the challenges facing Europe’s young people. They’ll ask what the European
Parliament can do to pave the way for successful careers and political stability. Thanks for watching.

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One thought on “Europe’s youth and the European Parliament

  1. Your main concern is the 'perception' of the European project? Why not be honest? The problem is the EU itself. The migration crisis wouldn't have happened on such a scale were it not for Schengen. The EU-Turkey deal is disgusting. Your Free Movement of Europeans policy is protectionist and discriminatory towards non-EEA citizens. The ECJ has started to recognise the problems with 'Social Europe' with its judgments in Dano and Alimanovic, it's time you EU propagandists started doing the same.

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