Viola Caon left her Italian home to find work. Now she returns to see how her former classmates are faring… and in the week that shocking figures showed how badly Europe’s youth is being hit by the unemployment crisis, we also talk to hard-hit twentysomethings in Athens and Madrid
Maybe being young is never easy. But being a twentysomething young European has rarely been more stressful.
More than a quarter (28%) of Italians between 16 and 24 are unemployed. Others are struggling to get by on unpaid internships or poorly paid jobs with little security.
Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Monti, has vowed to help the younger generation, promising among other things to help them start businesses, but as austerity bites deep the future is uncertain, even terrifying, for many.
It’s not just Italy, of course. Eurozone unemployment is at a record. According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, 16.3 million people are out of work in the 17 countries that joined the euro. The story of a lost generation is becoming the scandal of a continent. In Spain, 51.4% of those aged 16-24 are jobless. In Greece, the figure is 43%.