Photo courtesy: Alexander Neofitov


The challenges

It does not take much effort to notice that Europe has an issue with its youth. Recent terrorist attacks were committed by young Europeans, while right-wing groups in both East and West are filling their ranks with new recruits from the lower age groups.
One reason is of course the strained economic situation that many labor newcomers have found themselves caught up into post-2008. One only needs to open the World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth to get a grasp of the reality, facing a growing number of Europeans, aged between 18 and 24. According to the report, prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO), while youth unemployment seems to be stabilizing and in some cases even receding, European youth are progressively “taking the place of the elderly as the group at greatest risk of living in poverty”. Meaning that many young people work, but are still not managing to keep afloat.
Another reason, however, stems from the growing disparities cutting deep into the group’s core, underpinned by factors, such as geographical location, access to education/information and digital proficiency.
For some the golden path of a degree in a prestigious European university (preferably in one of Western Europe’s educational meccas) and a Brussels internship, paving the way for an early head-start and, ultimately, a coveted well-paid job, is the norm. Others, however, are less fortunate, with different barriers (i.e. socio-economic, cultural, linguistic) impeding their access to decent and stable job placement, and, hence, diminishing their professional and social prospects. Faced with limited career choices or at the risk of becoming “working poor”, such adolescents are often prone to absenteeism, and scapegoating.
Moreover, as any system based on efficiency and meritocracy, Europe’s bureaucracy is catered to streamlining the advancement of those young people that already possess the necessary qualifiers. As innate as it is to Europe’s largely technocratic institutional establishment such cherry picking sometimes sends the wrong signals to budding members of the continents workforce - namely, that their input is neither needed, nor encouraged.
Left unattended, in the short term the growing gaps will certainly stifle economic growth and social progress, cutting down on Europe’s youth potential. However, in the long term they threaten the very ability of Europe to sustain the democratic project it has placed its bets on.

16438065636 6a14a51f38 zPhoto: Michqel D Beckwith (Flickr); Licence CC0 1.0 

What is Europe? Is Europe more a geographical, cultural, political or economic concept? What defines the European identity? These are all questions E&M has pondered from the very beginning, and over the years we’ve come up with many very different answers. Indeed, our vision of what Europe is and should be is influenced by many factors. With this new regular feature, My European Bookshelf, we wanted to consider one of those factors: literature. In this space, E&M has invited young Europeans to share the books that have shaped their understanding and perception of Europe. 

amber rudd
Photo: Department of Energy and Climate Change (flickr); Licence: CC BY-ND 2.0 - Amber Rudd, Home Secretary of the United Kingdom

Having been an EU migrant in the UK for almost the majority of my life, Britain’s Brexit aftermath never ceases to torment me. Since the UK voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd of June, it has been dominating European headlines, with more and more controversial content. The unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum shocked people across Europe and the globe, despite exit polls having already pointed to this result – nobody wanted to believe the turn that the UK was about to take. With cries and promises for curbs on immigration by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May, my anxiety for the future in a country I was so used to calling my second home has been growing. The truth is, we can discuss the growing xenophobic, racist comments permeating the Conservatives’ rhetoric for days, but what does this all actually mean for migrants in the UK?

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 Photo: Theophilous Papadopoulos (flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Our editor Justine Olivier points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about how the EU plans to renew itself, the political consequelces of the refugee crisis in Germany  and the risk of Erasmus being a bargaining chip of the Brexit negotiation.  

 Justine, Sixth Sense and Heart editor 


How to make the European Union appealing again? Does the EU need structural reforms? How to tackle our current security, economic and legitimacy challenges? These are the questions that all leaders of the EU keep mulling over these weeks. Indeed, Brexit, in addition to all the economic and political uncertainty it has brought, has acted as a wake-up call no one can ignore. What's wrong with the EU ? On the day of the referendum results, several European leaders called for substantial reforms. But now is the time for more concrete propositions. This was the aim of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech on Wednesday the 14th of September. Juncker made many propositions, including cutting red tape and boosting investment through the completion of the capital markets union. However, these are neither new nor original. As Tim King analyzes in POLITICO, his speech was not as inspiring as it was meant and expected to be. The speech aimed at being reassuring, as Juncker stressed that in spite of its numerous challenges the EU was strong enough and “not at risk”. The Commission President also emphasized that the way forward is through more union. But at a time of increasing skepticism concerning the positive impact of integration and cooperation among Europeans, there is no certainty that Juncker's words were enough rekindle the much-needed faith in Europe.

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