YES to European leaders : stay committed to young people !
Below our President Laura Slimani’s letter to European Leaders ahead of the European Council.
European leaders : your decisions have consequences, stay committed to young people !
Our generation has been living through the consequences of an unfair economic system for years, facing unemployment and precariousness everywhere in Europe. For too many young people, austerity and neoliberal policies have resulted in personal sacrifices, reduced access to healthcare, less autonomy from one’s parents, and a prolonged scarring effect on their careers.
In 2014, the Youth Guarantee was implemented in order to give a real opportunity to every young person out of a job or of education. This programme has been an outstanding success, allowing some of the most marginalised youngsters to re-access employment, training or education. I am not making up these conclusions, they were formulated by the European Commission in its recent evaluation of the programme. 14 million people have benefitted from it so far ! For one year now, the Young European Socialists and the PES have been advocating for an increased commitment of 20 billion Euros to the Youth Guarantee.
But it seems this policy is now at risk because of the current budgetary discussions at the European level, which should come to an end in the upcoming European Council. Young people’s future are apparently not at the core of European priorities any longer.
I want to remind European leaders that their decisions have consequences on European citizens. Refusing to increase the European budget, pushing member states to privatise public services and liberalise their labour markets : all of these decisions have resulted in worse living conditions for Europeans, especially young people. We are tired of hearing that « this summit is the one of the last chance » and then reading the same lukewarm commitments to make things better, to find out a few months later that finally nothing has changed.
The European project has no chance of surviving if it does not come with the promise of a better life. It is an illusion to think that we will achieve it without investing financially in current and future generations. European leaders have to stop the hypocrisy : if they are truly committed to improving young people’s lives, they need to invest in our future !
I know that as political leaders, they make difficult decisions. I urge them to take strongly into account the current disillusion of young people regarding European integration, which could have dreadful political consequences. This situation requires an answer within the European Council, and this answer is needed now.