young-peopleThe number of people aged 18-30 still living at home with their parents in the EU had risen to 48% by 2011 according to new research published recently by Eurofond. The study finds that young men in particular are still likely to be living with their parents into their 30s. Worryingly, the research also suggests that nearly half of young Europeans live in households experiencing some form of deprivation, with 22% experiencing serious deprivation.

We had a depressing tale sent in to us from Jack, who said he was 26 years old and had a university degree, but was still stuck doing temporary catering jobs and working in call centres.

citizen_icon_180x180I was doing the lame agency catering jobs, with no fixed hours or guaranteed work on minimum-wage slave labour with little choice in where I was being sent on any given day. The overall impression people my age and younger get is that the jobs we were promised are suddenly not there. The people who should either be moving on up the ladder or leaving the labour market altogether simply aren’t. Instead, they’re clinging on to these jobs by their Baby Boomer finger-tips. Worse still, when it comes to laying people off, employers are allowed to disproportionately inflict the job losses on employees who’ve been with the business for the least amount of time; invariably the youngest. Also, youth doesn’t feel like much of an advantage when you have to compete with all those Baby Boomers who’ve got 20 years or more on you. Many of the so-called ‘employment opportunities’ for internships or apprenticeships in the UK are little more than exploitative revolving door schemes without a job offer at the end.

So, what can be done? We had a comment sent in from Semira suggesting that retirement ages should be lowered across the EU, which she argued would free up more jobs for young people. We took this suggestion to Evelyn Regner, an Austrian MEP who sits with the  Social Democrats in the European Parliament. How would she respond?

We also had a video comment sent in from Simona, suggesting that including mandatory work placement in higher education degrees would improve the employability of young people. Regner responded that work placement was a good idea, but she disagreed it should be mandatory:

Finally, we had a comment from Andrea suggesting that the “EU just needs to stop forcing countries into austerity measures, then there will automatically be more jobs.”

We took this comment to the Irish Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe, whose party sits with the  Centre-Right in the European Parliament. Ireland has undergone a painful series of austerity measures since the crisis began, and recently exited its IMF-EU bail-out programme. How would he respond?

donohoeWell, I would take a very different view to Andrea. The primary source of so-called austerity measures is the inability of countries to borrow at an economic interest rate they can afford to borrow at. And, regardless of the existence of the EU, the relationship that Member States have with the financial markets is the decisive factor.

I know that for Ireland – and I’m only going to comment on what happened in Ireland – the key thing that forced us to take many of the difficult measures that we had to recently was the fact that Ireland either could not borrow from the financial markets or could not borrow at a rate that was affordable for our country. That’s primarily a direct relationship with the financial markets that is very much independent of our relationship with the EU. And, in fact, the EU has played a role in allowing countries to take those measures at a pace that is different to what they would otherwise have to do.

Reducing unemployment and fixing the economy are top of the agenda for all of the parties going into the European Parliament elections in May. The  Centre-Right have pledged in their manifesto to “encourage growth and jobs through structural reforms so that Europe attracts private investment”, whilst the  Liberal Democrats want to “boost the economy by completing the Single Market, working for an EU-US free trade agreement and better supporting SMEs”

A very different approach is taken by the  Social Democrats, who promise in their manifesto to “create more and better jobs by introducing an ambitious European industrial policy, increasing funding for the Youth Guarantee plan and introducing decent minimum wages across Europe either by law or through collective bargaining.” Meanwhile, the  Greens say they will “reinvent the European economy through a ‘Green New Deal’ by ending austerity, restructuring public and private debt and investing massively in sustainable sectors and technologies.” Don’t forget to vote for the party YOU support in your Debating Europe Vote 2014!

Would lowering the retirement age help free up more jobs for young people? Would mandatory work placements help give practical experience to graduates? Or would ending austerity policies create new jobs for everyone? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Meral Crifasi

49 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar

      I’m 13

  1. avatar
    Stephane Czajkowski

    Restore the local culture, restore the military service, restore the frontiers, restore agriculture, restore local industries. Import only energy.

  2. avatar
    Samo Košmrlj

    Those two would help, and you should also reduce the working week from 40 or 48h to 35 or less, it is painfully obvious we can produce enough for everyone with 30% of the current workforce and we need to distribute the wealth fairly, otherwise eu will fail miserably due to selfish older generations. The 70% of the workforce, they work in jobs that dont make much sense and they just rot in front of computer screens in some stupid made-up jobs that are there just to keep people employed.

    The 48% that are still living at home are doing so mainly because they are insecure. So what you should do first, is give them security, because no one wants to destroy his/her life by building up unbearable debt (which is the only option people have now, if they dont have rich parents/relatives/they dont win the lottery). See usa, there entire generations are wasted cause of student loans.
    And it gets even better, that generation will be a mentally ill generation which will produce psychopathic offspring.

    So what you should do is gather some courage and kick the vampiric capitalism, but we all know this wont happen because our politicians are just as corrupt as any, where the only difference between left and right wing is in how quickly they fall to their knees in front of big corporations

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Awesome comment, i would give you a thumb-up for it if i could :)

  3. avatar
    Malcolm Seychell

    Can you be so stupid? pensions will go up and europe is being filled already with illegal immigrants…so this will only create more problems. No wonder europe is collapsing

  4. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    Do you really care about us, the people?
    I don’t think so, everything that has been done so far, was against us, so we’re still in crisis and we will continue. USA and corruption will not let you solve European crisis :)

  5. avatar
    Gabriela Marin

    they should start by reducing the salaries of people employed in EU institutions which are ridiculous high and above this so many benefits and no taxes on salaries. If we are equal, let’s be equal. So many european agencies and institutions where problems are debated not solved and where the smallest salary is 3000 euro but most of them have 2 or 3 times higher. So they should start with cutting this salaries and benefits and then we see something really done. But who cares?

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Wrong. The real question is SHOULD we compete with them?
      And the answer is no.
      Kick out the damn neo-liberal ideologues that come from across the stinking Atlantic and RAISE IMPORT TAXES EU WIDE.
      Your stuff comes from slave countries like China? Ok, you pay 50% import tax because you ruin our environment ( by polluting the Earth ) and treat your people bad ( by not imposing regulations on businessess ).

      China and India did not freaking invent the wheel !
      They CHEATED their workforce of the basic worker rights we have here to get off the ground and the capitalist LEECHES smelled blood and moved there.
      If we PUNISH them, then they will change or die off. Good riddance to bad corporate rubbish.

  6. avatar

    No brainer question. Jobs, jobs and more jobs. And a regional policy against outsourcing. That brings the real issue here. Is Europe able to compete with Asia and Americas ? That’s the real question. Are europeans prepared to work long hours for less money/benefits ?

  7. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    “How can Europe help the 48% of young people still living at home?”
    It can’t.
    And it shouldn’t. And that ‘s the point.
    And before you pelt me with tomatoes and rotten eggs listen:

    Europe has the Universal basic Income initiative – circulating still and gathering signatures.
    We could all do what our PASSION is and everything we don’t want to do or is too mundane could be automated.
    Yes, dammit it COULD.

    We don’t need “austerity”.
    We don’t need these “foreign investor” fucks to come and buy up our production plants and then create slavery conditions in order to be “competitive”.
    Just give the WORKERS the plant and they will find a way to – DEMOCRATICALLY ( wow ! ) – keep it going.
    Wow….democracy at work, what a concept, right?

    • avatar

      Yeah…. You watch daytime TV and have 15 kids, while I work to support you and them.

      Without “foreign investors” you would be picking tomatoes in Greece, for 200 Euros per month.

      Why is it that stupid people always want something for nothing, or if they don’t get it, they blame everyone by themselves.

      The rest of us don’t care about your PASSION. Go get a job and if you want to keep it, do it wll. If not, say thank you for the handout and stop whinging.

  8. avatar
    Mihai Badralexe

    Are you stupid or just socialist? Oh, it’s the same :)). Actually both are pretty bad ideas and impossible to apply anyway. There is no such thing as a free lunch, social security, money for nothing and of course chicks for free. Unless you’re a rockstar and then you don’t need them anyway.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Not sure if you are stupid or just economically illiterate.
      “Free trade” has ruined the world. ALL rich countries were protectionist in their climb up.
      These are FACT, smartass.

      And yes i am a socialist and right now social security is NOT A FREE LUNCH, people are TAXED FOR IT!
      This typical right-wing idiocy.
      “oh the poor can go fuck themselves hurr durr”

      YOU PAY out of your salary for social security it’s not a “GIFT” it’s a RIGHT !
      You got a lot of nerve to suggest otherwise.

    • avatar

      No it’s not a “Right”it’s a “Privilege” ,the problem some people have is they think they have a right to everything,they have a right to work even though they are stupid,they have a right to have children even though they cannot afford to support them,they have a right to live off others even though they are too lazy to get off their backsides..when did gifts ,favours and privileges become rights.
      You don’t have the “Right “to live off my taxes,sorry I’m not a socialist,I work bloody hard ,run my own bussiness ,don’t take hand outs,and came from nothing,if you can’t or won’t do the same then Tough !

  9. avatar
    Patrice Puchaux

    Solutions already exist: European Voluntary Service or Leonardo Da Vinci project! That will help young people to be independant, to raise their work experience and to be aware of the other people in EU.

  10. avatar
    Spyros Kouvoussis

    Mihai, there is no such thing as a free lunch but there are trillions in funds and the bank sector that could be invest on industry and services and create millions of jobs. As for your anti-socialist drama, scientific research has proven that left-wing people are smarter than conservatives. Not surprising at all given how bad things have turned for Europe after 30 years of neonliberalism but now there is scientific proof.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Not to mention neo-liberalist ideology hurts him too, but he’s too thick to see it – oh the irony :)

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Spyros Kouvoussis
      Great stuff!

      Would you please kindly provide a reference RE the source of your ‘intelligence’ claim as it sounds VERY, VERY INTERESTING.

      Thanks in advance


  11. avatar
    Ana Quintas

    For instance, there are a lot of young employees that only gain 500€ per month and the house’s expenses are very high. There are young people who are graduated but don’t gain in accordance with the level of knowledge or the type pf job they are doing. In Portugal, the liberal internships aren’t paid… the internship to the lawyers bar take 30 months and isn’t paied, so you can be with yours 25 years old, you are working but you aren’t paid… so, no! I don’t think that EU can do something because it’s a internal and national matter of ruling.

  12. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    Make customs duty for imported cheap goods from far east so high , that no European commerciant wouldn’t find such a high profit by importing that rubish. So the results will be positively multiplied : all the potent European industrials will come back home with equipment and regain the quality production in Europe , as it was on the level of 1990.- ties. So , there will be many new jobs for Young people , and the competition would be fair as it was before . Easy . There is a good political will neccessary to reach that.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian


  13. avatar
    Асен Ганчев

    Why don’t you lower taxes, reduce welfare and minimize regulations – that has proven to be effective (see Asia)? Both the options you provide do exactly the opposite – businesses stop investments and go overseas. But since the only agenda of the EU is the road to socialism and total government control, I am not surprised.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Yes because lowering taxes ( benefits the rich ), reducing welfare ( hurts the poor ) and minimizing regulations ( hurts environment and fattens corporations ) worked SO WELL so far hasn’t it?
      Oh wait Beijing is so polluted…SO POLLUTED that they can’t even see the sun..THE SUN !

      Their workers earn slavery wages, they cannot unionize because there are no REGULATIONS.
      The corporations can pollute INSANELY because there are no REGULATIONS.
      The working conditions are a disaster because there are no REGULATIONS !

      And you want us to move FURTHER toward neo-liberalism?
      What are you nuts?

  14. avatar
    Асен Ганчев

    “As for your anti-socialist drama, scientific research has proven that left-wing people are smarter than conservatives.” – :D :D :D :D. I suppose it was your professor at Athens who told you that. Europeans will not pay so that you can have maids from Bulgaria and Romania any more. Get used to it, you “smarter” champion of socialism at other’s expense. :D :D :D

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      “Europeans will not pay so that you can have maids from Bulgaria and Romania any more”
      That statement was pretty…well..DUMB.

  15. avatar
    Paul X

    Why is everyone here only focussing about jobs?

    More to the point is a lot of young people are living at home because there is no affordable housing for them to move into. Where I live even those who do have jobs cannot save enough for a deposit on a house and most cheap rented accommodation is filled 6 to a room with immigrant farm workers

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Everyone should be focused on GOOD jobs, notjust “jobs”.
      Being paid “survival/slavery wages” is also a “job”.

      If we would kick out the neo-liberalist ideologues and return to our own social democratic ideals where the poor and downrotten are not PUNISHED and the rich and greedy THIEVES are not glamorized we would have a revival of Europe.
      And yes, for the 100th time i am a socialist.

  16. avatar
    Giannis Lainas

    Bail them out…it worked for banks,supposedly…so lets bail out those that really need it now.

  17. avatar
    Paul X

    @ Limbidis

    Even those with “good” jobs will struggle to get a property. There is a lot of young people with full time jobs who still live with their parents, the fact they earn a decent wage excludes them from social housing yet they will have to struggle for years to save the money required to get on the property ladder

    ..and no need to apologise for being a socialist, your political leaning has been quite obvious for some time ;-)

  18. avatar

    Well the ending of Austerity would definetly help to solve this situation, since the countries under the austerity measures are the ones where young people have the most difficulties leaving home, due to major lack of financial stability worsened by austerity!

    However, i think the problem is not leaving their parents homes, but having the possibility or the choice to do it, which right now that is not like a choice is more like an obligation! ;)

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Why does austerity get the blame for everything?

      More to the point what is the alternative? Governments to borrow and spend as much as they want?….all that will do is defer the issues and our children and grandchildren will inherit worse economic conditions then we have now

      At some point in time governments have to take responsibility for their borrowing, if you want to blame someone then it is the selfish attitude of previous governments who were happy to rack up enormous debts for future generations to sort out

      To use an analogy for my current position. I own a house and the aim is to pass it on to my children as an inheritance. If I was to have the same attitude as many governments I would remortgage it and spend all the money on myself and leave my children with nothing but the debt…now how many people think that is a reasonable thing to do?

  19. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    I’m a fan of socialism too BUT not the EXTREME RABID version you propound.

    Indeed, if the EU adopts some of [not all] the policies you have espoused on this page the EU would have serious existential and stability problems.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      @Tarquin : What you are a proposing is not “socialism” in the truest form ,. it is keynesian economics.
      Socialists don’t want to SAVE capitalism, but DESTROY it.

      Get your facts right if you are a socialist.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      I’m sorry old chap but I did NOT say I was a Socialist, thus your last relevant comment was indeed – irrelevant.

  20. avatar

    The freedom of movement of people across the EU has caused many employment problems for the inexperienced and unqualified worker . As mentioned the cost of housing is high compared to wages driven down by the over supply of labour . The minimum wage in the UK is now pretty much the maximum wage for young people.
    So to help we must make companies employ young people ,giving proper apprenticeships and training . Reduce cross border economic migration to the need of the economy not the greed of the corporates and abolish housing benefit which only fuels the high cost of rented housing .

  21. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    UE Restaurar os Direitos Constitucionais travar a ganância da corrupção de dos poderosos das polticas

  22. avatar

    The idea that Europe can some how help people who cannot afford to leave home is weak and not sustainable. Europe is still a collection of sovereign state, each with different economies, different laws and housing patterns. Clearly when Europe can somehow unite these facets, then there may be some possibility of helping.

  23. avatar

    I was wondering when someone will give us a clearer image of what actually is going on, and why so many young europeans are jobless with no real perspective to get a job in a reasonable amount of time. So far nobody want to step up and nail it. In my humble opinion Europe as a whole and not just local groups of interests need to be re industrialised at several levels based on manpower available. I know it sound radical and undoable, but there are not too many options out there for achieving a steady economic growth, the starting point for having good paid jobs for generations to come. Unfortunately the perception of most of europeans is that either they have to share their wealth with unwelcome poor guests, either they are cursed to live in poverty and be exploited by the powerfull rich ones for centuries to come. I think that Europe is at the crossroads and therefore it takes new leaders with new vision and a out of guts along with a clear well structured plan for the years to come. So far all I saw was “anti crisis” measures based on “financial discipline”, a total lack of vision and a pessimistic political approach in solving newly raised crisis related issues. Mark my words, Europe is capable of many great things but it takes a lot of will, a lot of work, a bit of vision, a bit of unity and way better politics.

  24. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @Limbidis Arian

    The presenter is not exactly impartial AND worse still the ‘study’ is not formally cited.

    Please don’t waste my time with juvenile URLs. I would be grateful if you could provide me with the proof regarding your assertion as it [if true] would be VERY interesting…

  25. avatar
    Limbidis Arian


  26. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar


  27. avatar

    Ah, so, lower the retirement age and get the old people to join the ” idle and useless ” group who will then become a financial load to the young.
    Are we going around in circles? Or just practicing “Brownian motion politics”?
    The whole population picture needs to be looked at. The whole concept or “work” and “employment” needs to be looked at.

  28. avatar

    There must be a moderator who really looks at some of the interchanges going on here. Personal aggression should not be tolerated. If this were a face-to-face forum this behavior would not be allowed. I see no reason why it should be tolerated in this “virtual” forum.

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.