Young and European? Youth Attitudes to Social Europe

Anno XLIX, n. 210, maggio-agosto 2014
Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text
210_Ferrn Pereira.pdf


Due to the economic crisis, social expenditures have been cut dramatically in some European countries. Within this context, some groups of citizens, those depending more on social benefits, have become more disadvantaged than others. Among these, young people—in particular in Southern countries—are inexorably a target group. High levels of unemployment and precariousness of jobs are only two of the main problems the young have to face. This paper aims at studying whether the increasing social malaise influences youth attitudes towards social Europe. Indeed, the young are subject to two contradictory stimuli. On the one hand, the European Union is often blamed for putting strong pressure on member countries to cut social expenditures. On the other hand, there are now more exchanges among young people all across Europe, which makes the younger generation increasingly more European. An online survey was conducted among university students of four European countries during the campaign for the European elections of May 2014. Results of the analysis indicate that young Europeans have different preferences with regard to social Europe, depending mainly on how well or badly they evaluate their countries and Europe.