Bardonecchia and the Italian youth

Bardonecchia logoI have just returned from the annual regional seminar of Bardonecchia. Roughly 60 high school students in their last year are gathered in the ski resort for a few days to learn more about Europe. One of the things I really like about my role in JEF are these kind of seminars where you can dive a bit deeper into a certain social context and learn a bit how people from a certain region think and feel about their future.

One of the things I did in the introduction round was to ask these 18-year-olds what they plan to do when they are in my age. Strikingly, all six of my group wanted to live abroad! The simply reason was they did not see a good future for themselves in Italy. Another impression on the same context came up when I talked a bit with one of my JEF friends who just graduated in political science in Italy. We talked about job opportunities in Brussels and elsewhere and one of her comments was indeed shocking. She said “we Italian graduates don’t even think about normal paid employment, all we are looking for is unpaid internships – and even with these we struggle”. When considering that another (female) Italian friend of mine with a political science background is making roughly 1000 Euro net per month, there is a lot to be done to win back this generation for Italy.

Italy has long been a country of emigration – but emigrants tended to be people from the south, less educated. Now, the young educated middle classes do not even see a future in their home country. When you add this to the fact that Italy is on the bottom of the demographic table, you soon need to understand that there is a deadly cocktail of falling birth rates, economic depression, Europe’s highest government debts and emigration. Does this country have any future and how will the rest of Europe have to react to these depressing indicatores when nothing fundemental changes? Will there be a European solidaristic obligation in 30 years to jump in finance a failed social system? Or can we raise up the pressure now?

Maybe Italy should better host instead of winning the football world cup next time?! – According to a dpa article there is a significant rise of new borns in Northern and Eastern Germany these days, i.e. 9 months after the great World Cup month in Germany.

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