Greek Youth Versus the Government — The Government Responds

Highlights from a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, published by Die Zeit on September 27.

In Greece, every week 1,200 people lose their jobs. Most of them are young.

One million Greeks – a tenth of the population – are under 25 and one and a half million are between 25 and 34.

40 percent of those under 25 are unemployed. This includes almost every third university graduate – the highest rate in the E.U. And those with jobs often have difficulties making ends meet.

According to surveys, six out of ten young Greeks are willing to work in other E.U. countries. Many of them may not return.

The young have no political voice. Parties have no contact with them. This may cause serious conflict. The summer’s street protests had two major themes: rejection of all current politicians and of all austerity measures imposed by the I.M.F. or the E.U.

The best way to improve this relationship is to give the young access to jobs. To this end, the government has devised a program costing 3.9. billion euros, 55 percent of which is being financed by the E.U. A quarter of this sum will be devoted to job training, a further 25 percent to finance five-month contracts for 150,000 unemployed who are to receive 625 euros a month for work in the public sector.

Other programs are being launched designed to create a more entrepreneurial atmosphere in the private sector, including high tech, and to persuade universities to make greater efforts to adjust their courses to the demands of the market.

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3 responses to “Greek Youth Versus the Government — The Government Responds

  1. We cannot make any strong judgements here without having some idea of the scope of the underground or black economy. How do they realistically compare with the youth unemployment fired “Arab Spring”?

    • No idea. But I would think the political and cultural situations in Greek and Arab societies are fundamentally different, whatever the economic statistics. The aspirations of young people in Greece can only be met in a E.U. context, unlike those of young people in the Arab world.

  2. “rejection of all current politicians” has a certain appeal 😉
    Apparently Belgium has been functioning quite nicely for some time without a government — if a country has a stable institutional structure, a well-oiled bureaucracy can run the show. But Greece isn’t Belgium, and the Greeks aren’t Belgians. Still, it might work for Canada…