The EU is spoiled for choice when it comes to crises. From the influx of refugees arriving in numbers unseen since the Second World War, to the continent-wide collapse of trust in mainstream political parties, to sky-high youth unemployment rates and looming public debt mountains, there is no lack of challenges facing the 28-member bloc. These are issues that affect all Europeans, but young Europeans often disproportionately affected and, perhaps because of this, feel most disenfranchised by European politics.

On 22 October 2015, our partner think-tank Friends of Europe is holding their annual ‘State of Europe‘ high-level roundtable, bringing together senior policymakers, civil society representatives, and business leaders to discuss the future direction of the continent. To coincide with the event, we put video questions from youth organisations representing students and young people from across Europe to a panel of three politicians.

Responding to these questions were Maria Stratigaki, Vice Mayor of Athens for Social Solidarity; Marietje Schaake, a Member of the European Parliament for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE); László Andor, former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

So, what do you think at home? Did you agree, or disagree? How can Europe stem the refugee crisis? How can it tackle youth unemployment? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!


33 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Turkey and other Nato countries including some gulf states organised, financed, armed and supported and continue to support islamic terrorists fighting in Syria, this is creating refugees, now we are hearing from Germany that Turkey is to be the solution to the refugee crisis, that Turkey will get EU membership in exchange for taking up refugees, in a sick Hegelian dialectic show Turkey is to be rewarded for problems it brought upon Europe if it helps Europe, and to add to the paradox we would be exchanging a couple hundred thousand maybe a couple million refugees with 75000000 Turks, and this is being sold as a improvement when we all know that this is the opposite of an improvement. And one should ask what can Turkey do for Europe that it cant do, and hypothetically if Turkey did become a EU member wouldnt it then be constrined by the same EU laws that alledgedly stop other EU States from doing what needs to be done, or would there be some special laws that would exist in Turkey but not in the other EU States, it makes no sense. We are already seeing that Eastern countries could actually close their borders and hold back these refugees, ofcourse people will try to find ways around this, but it is not easy, and this would act as a deterrent to many people. We Western European Nations have a great way of life, freedom, equality, great level of security, but everything has a breaking point, a point where it can be endangered, these refugees come from a alien culture and religion, one that persecutes and discriminates Christians in their countries, gays live dangerous as well, women dont have a western type of equality, and from a western viewpoint these people have a sick idea of what honour is, our constitutions are only as strong and in effect as the amount of people who live here that believe in the constitution, if we let in these people in such massive numbers we in essence damage our constitution and our freedom and yes obviously also our security. Some will say how exactly is this eg Afghan man damaging my freedom, well if he doesnt believe in western style freedom and democracy then he will behave in a way that goes counter to this, and if he has 1000 or 100000 people behind him who think just like him then yes our constitutional rights will be damaged, it will show itself in numous ways, eg there will be more rapes, more violent robberies etc., when a westerner says something that the Muslim finds insulting this can result in extreme violence whereas a westerner would normally have insulted the guy back or called the police or mostly ignored the guy, but because of the muslim honour code violence will likely be used to settle differences, some muslims will refuse to shake hands with a female, some will want to controll the lives of their female relatives, relatives who will more and more wish to enjoy western freedoms, this will lead to problems in their family and muslim community, the father of such females will lose respect in the muslim community, the shame of having girls that live free western lifestyles(going out when they choose to, not wearing headscarves, having boyfriends, smoking, drinking, going to parties, sex before marriage etc.) will lead to so called honour killings. There will also be some terrorism,the answer of politicians and the governments will be to create tougher laws, more spying etc., thereby damaging our freedom in some way. I do not support the taking up of these people in such massive numbers, there must be a limit, and there must be a enforcing of the borders, even if necessary with the use of force,including deadly force, im not kidding, if the border patrols have no other way than deadly force to create respect for our borders and to protect our nations then this should be done. If we stand strong and defend our constitution and our way of life then we will have order, if we do like Angela Merkel and invite every poor soul on the planet to please come then we will have what we have been seeing for some time now which is more and more chaotic scenes.

  2. avatar

    Germany should not be the leader of Europe, Germany is only Economically a leader, but a country that is commiting slow suicide, a country that loves to hate itself, this cannot be the role model for other European countries. Tut mir leid liebe Deutsche aber es musste mal gesagt werden.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Theo, unfortunately- and to everybody’s detriment- you are totally right in your assessment of the (EU) situation. Once assessed- what is the solution than?

      Nur zu “sagen”, ist nicht genug- es muss auch “richtig” gewaehlt werden!

      Hopefully, more & more folks are awaken & angry, how our confused political leaders are stumbling & gambling our hard earned social & economic heritage (and future) away- by their strange pc wheeling & dealing”! Reminiscent of the most naive, inexperienced & stupid diplomats ever born in Europe!

      My option is a mass EU exit, taking back full sovereignty & a different renegotiated beginning- lead by the enlightened, the willing, the honest & corrupt able according to principles contained in the:

      No compromise! All parties represented in the EP are supporters of this EU disaster- no exemption!

      Simply, voters need to conclude that the one democratic and ONLY option out of this growing disaster is- that the majority folks become a mass movement to dismantle this unholy Union by way of local referendums demanding EU EXITS. Once a handful of EU net contributing members take the exit option- these naive diplomats will become unemployed. Never to negotiate anything anymore- be it a secretive & unfavorable TTIP or a solution to a refugee crises. From a similar gone too far & weak position- they have shown with Turkey now! Please, no repeat nor a hint of a revival or a whiff of an Ottoman empire in Europe- again!

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      sorry, correction please- should of course read “in-corrupt able”

  3. avatar
    Lynda Germon

    I am sorry, but I do not believe in anyone I might be wrong, but I would like Europe to go back to individual countries !!! I do not feel comfortable in having Germany tell me what to do . They have absolutly nothing in common with Portugal !

  4. avatar
    Evlogi Iliev


  5. avatar
    Manolis Karras

    What Europe??? You mean the bank cartel that wants everything for free, by imposing huge debt on all countries with no solutions.

  6. avatar
    Darin Attard

    Fix the European problems first, don’t let foreign American policies take root and assist other countries to adopt the ideals of Europe without damaging their culture. It’s already too late!

  7. avatar
    Rui Correia

    This EU is a MESS, as it is today… EU bureaucrats and politicias making decisions that do not match the people’s choices (ex: migrant crisis), etc etc… I’m definitely a “pro-European”, I’m all for an “European identity”, but some things are going just too far… I believe we could have the same collaboration and trade agreements in place, without the “weight of Brussels’ politicians” on top of us, and their bills to pay… it’s starting to feel like some sort of “dictatorship overrunning national sovereign democracies”… not good, sometimes… If we’re sharing a common currency (=trust), I do understand we have to give in, in terms of budget, financial reporting, etc… but not in terms of sovereignty… ex: migrant crisis – who’s Mrs. Merkel to tell us we “must” take in xxxx a few thousands??? Is she the only one running the show??? – and don’t tell me the EU is going to pay for it, because in the end, it’s ALL OF US, Europeans, who will pay for it… afterall, we’re already paying for your expenses in Brussels, one way or another… right? We are stupid enough to let anybody come into Europe, via any route, lowering our living standards and our wages, instead of LEARNING WHEN TO SAY “NO”… My little country is a mess right now (because of that socialist idiot that decided to turn to the lefties and TRY to win an election via backoffice)… but the EU is not performing much better, as a whole :-(

  8. avatar
    Rui Correia

    And please… don’t even talk about an “European super-state” right now… there is still SO MUCH to do…

  9. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Angela Merkel is going to destroy the EU . Right-wing populists suported by religious organisations are going to win elections and we are going to have bad conflict in Europe . EU had many problems before but now with all refugees we are going to become refugees . I am going to try to move to Australia .

  10. avatar
    Giorgos Hatzidakis


  11. avatar
    Giorgos Hatzidakis


    • avatar
      Eric banna

      Simmering nicely Leela.

  12. avatar
    Edgar Joycey

    Scrap the present EU architecture and the finance model for the Euro that is based on Schaueble’s desire to rule the area and make countries compete on an uneven playing field, and start all over again from scratch using a model that starts with a political sense of solidarity so making the financial model fit this. The present model is failed and the EU is doomed all because the weak EuroFin ministers allowed a tax man and a milk economist dominate.

  13. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    The current «state of europe» is DENIAL. Europe refuses to see that the neo-liberal model of economy went bankrupt over six years ago, and neo-classic economics went bankrupt with it. Europe is refusing to see need for a new pararadigm: for financial regulation, for a «growth and stability pact» that actually generates (1) growth and (2) stability, and jobs for everyone, and living wages for everyone. But europe can not possibly work on the new paradigm and make the changes needed to solve economic problems until it recognizes that the current paradigm is wrong and exhausted. DENIAL is the basic problem of the EU.

  14. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    The current «state of europe» is DENIAL. Europe refuses to see that the neo-liberal model of economy went bankrupt over six years ago, and neo-classic economics went bankrupt with it. Europe is refusing to see need for a new pararadigm: for financial regulation, for a «growth and stability pact» that actually generates (1) growth and (2) stability, and jobs for everyone, and living wages for everyone. But europe can not possibly work on the new paradigm and make the changes needed to solve economic problems until it recognizes that the current paradigm is wrong and exhausted. DENIAL is the basic problem of the EU.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      The leaders inside the EU are in denial regarding the fundamental concept of the ‘United European’ model on every level. They sold the citizens a line on what unification meant. They did not open up to them on the true motive or expansion of Globalisation and what it meant to them and their children. Like TTIP they kept it secret and only now are the founders of this premis falling on their own petard. At last it has been exposed that what a united Europe means to the tax payer of this continent. They are being fleeced in order to feed the world and to consolidate the dreaded Globalisation of our nation states.

      It cannot work and will not work. And the more they persist in pushing it down our throats the harder it will be rejected. Very few European citizens want to change their traditional culture or standards of living to that of the immigrants who flee the horror of their homelands. Syria being a set up to force on us all multiculturalism, by telling us we must all be merciful and take the world in, in order to reduce our own workforce to a slave mentality as the resouces lessen for each of us.

      In the UK this coming week our second house of unelected members, those in the Lords have been threatened by our government openly, that should they follow their conscience and once again ask the proposed new legislation, which in reality is giving the right for us all to be starved to death, as the working week can no longer mean a living wage, and our benefit payments will no longer cover the shortfall, that should they dare to stand against such betrayal they will be brought to ruin. A bastard called Rees Mogg has openly threatened that a government revolt against the Lords, unless they pass this evil quietly, is already on the cards. Remember, we, the UK tax payer has been duped into parting with our hard earned on the proviso it will save us from destitution should WE fall on hard times. That is now being removed from us by those who didn’t tell us this in before the May general election. And they are doing it under the guise of ‘mass immigration.’ The same mass immigration they brought into law in order to reduce us all to serfs. And the public go about their business without realising this is working against them very quickly indeed.

      Here is a BBC political programme from yestersday with the Greek economist Yannis being open about what is taking place financially to thwart us all.

      And here is another observation that is an aside to the politically correct fear of ever being able to speak out against what is taking place across the Western world. Have any of you noticed art, in every form, is presently stiffled. It has been stultified by putting a lid on our genuine feelings as a connected society. All that is presently taking place artistically is regurgitation. Nothing excitingly new. Except one very strange piece of thinking in the UK a short itme ago that was supposed to be dwelling on our past wartime glory. What came out of that was a recollection of the speech given by one of our MP’s decades ago in 1968 as he warned what would happen if mass immigration grew out of control, it was named, Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. Those were the days when a politician could speak the truth to the people he served.

      Here is Enoch Powell giving that speech.

      And here is the recent art work at the Tower of London to commemorate our wartime victory and ‘mourn our glorious dead.’ This is the exact replication of what Enoch was saying in this speech warning us of the folly of mass invasion and the ending of our cultural expectation and civilisation as a result of it. The only art work that has moved the people of this country to tears in well over a decade.

  15. avatar

    Portugal votes against austerity but the EU and its right wing stooges refuse to give up power. What is happening there is a disgrace. I ask you, when can we start calling this fascism?

    • avatar
      Eric banna

      I would start right now,how about ” dictatorship “

  16. avatar

    Dear moderators I see you are still deleting posts that dont conform to your biased doctrine, be polite enough to respond .

  17. avatar
    josephine gatt-ciancio MSc B.A.

    we have to free high standard income for everybody from being tied to work. we can start doing this gradually but it must be our objective. i have written something to this effect but i intend to write more.

  18. avatar
    Gyorgy Gajdos

    We have to be together with the US because the world would blow up if there is no order maintained. We should do more with them so that outcomes are influenced more in our favor.

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