Double Crisis Generation
Radiography of the situation of young people in southern Europe
A decade ago, Southern Europe was hit particularly hard by the financial and subsequential debt crisis. Those who suffered most were young people with their career options falling apart while youth unemployment rates climbed to staggering heights. The inevitable exodus of skilled talent to Northern Europe caused a lot of additional emotional hardship in a region where family bonds are closer and the climate and the more individualistic lifestyle of the North resonate with only a few.
“Ellos tienen Mallorca, nosotros tenemos Berlín” (“They have Mallorca, we have Berlin”) became a winged word among young Spaniards, as so many of them had left their home country for the German capital, alone. However, they were told that this had been a once-in-a-generation-crisis and soon things would get better. Covid-19 ruined that idea for good. Hence, the title of this study: the double crisis generation.
The Covid-19 economic crisis is posing huge structural societal and economic challenges around the globe. The economies in Southern Europe, mainly due to their deep economic dependence on interpersonal services such as tourism , lack the economic antibodies to prevent a long asymmetric crisis. Those that will suffer the most will be, again, the more unprotected younger generations. In the meantime, partly as a consequence of EU’s Great Recession, populist right- and left-wing movements and parties have emerged across Europe, creating a more toxic political environment for center parties and rational, liberal solutions. Representing Spanish and German institutions, which are strongly committed to the EU and and the European integration process, we were keen on finding out if the double economic crisis might fuel populist forces in Spain, Italy and Portugal and thereby creating additional trouble for pro-European forces everywhere.
At the FNF Madrid office and througout end 2020 and all 2021, we have developed a study, documentary film and many debates between youngsters and polititians to discuss around this topic. Hope you enjoy the reading and the viewing!
Documentary filmed in Spain, Italy and Portugal following the study "The double crisis generation: Economic insecurity and political attitudes in Southern Europe" conducted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and prepared by EsadeEcPol to provide an in-depth analysis of the socioeconomic situation of the generation born between 1985 and 1995 in Southern Europe and the evolution of their political attitudes. The audiovisual piece sheds light on the socioeconomic gap faced by Generation Y, the reasons for the political breakdown in the region and will seek to promote a debate on possible responses to address the lack of opportunities and security. It features the participation of dozens of young people interviewed in Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, as well as the authors of the report and external experts in the field such as Olga Cantó and Pablo Simón, among others.
The COVID 19 pandemic may prove to be an opportunity for the governments of Southern Europe to carry out the necessary reforms, with emphasis on policies that ensure opportunities for young people to enter adult life and the labor market and start a family. The challenge is to avoid a new lost generation of young people entering the labor market.
David Henneberger, Director of the FNF Madrid Office.