Lost Generation?

Opinion | PJS | May 2013

The Great Continent has gone through some precarious times. To deal with the debts and imbalances emerging from the financial crisis of 08-09, European governments embraced chilling austerity measures to curb government spending. Too often, young people have borne the brunt of this crisis. Budget cuts and lower investment have curtailed education and later employment opportunities. According to Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, the 5.5 million unemployed young people, "should be on the top of the agenda of Europe and its politicians."

Long-term unemployment gives rise to systemic disadvantages, as young people who have been out of work or university for too long, face the danger of becoming unemployable. This not only affects the European Unions competitiveness but also damages European society as a whole.

Austria has traditionally been, and remains, a strong advocate for youth in fighting unemployment. According to Eurostat, at 7.6 per cent, the Alpine Republic enjoys one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the EU, as a result of preventative and proactive employment market policies.

Youth Coaching, a federal counselling and guidance programme, is an example of the services offered to young people who are at risk of dropping out of school. Although these programmes are not universally effective, their purpose is to convince an increasingly distrustful younger generation that the state has not given up on them.

The future of a society is everybody’s responsibility.

Other articles from this issue