Even if Europe manages to put off the worst of its economic crisis, it will soon have an even bigger problem on its hands: the alienation and desperation of an entire generation of young people. Fifty-seven percent of Greeks ages 15-24 are out of work. Spain, Italy, and Portugal show similarly high numbers of unemployed youth. As European Parliament head Martin Schulz told Reuters:
We saved the banks but are running the risk of losing a generation…. One of the biggest threats to the European Union is that people entirely lose their confidence in the capacity of the EU to solve their problems. And if the younger generation is losing trust, then in my eyes the European Union is in real danger.
The EU has plans for a $6 billion initiative to help young people find jobs. But compare that to the $700 billion spent so far on rescuing Europe’s banks. It’s hardly a surprise that Europe’s disaffected youth believe their leaders care more about bankers than they do about them. And for years, those leaders ignored the warning signs of trouble ahead. Once the trouble came, they tried to bury the problems under layer upon layer of Eurofudge.It’s true that Europe’s leaders are losing the trust of the young. That’s because they have done nothing to earn it.