We, the European Students’ Union, demand that the European Union takes action to put in place measures that will guarantee an intergenerational equality in the midst of the financial crisis. ESU further demands that the EU takes a decisive action to prevent a rise in youth unemployment, prolongation of periods spent in working life, and the irresponsible use of pension funds as a tool to solve the financial crisis.
The financial crisis has already caused a serious and an extensive damage both financially and socially all throughout Europe. The financial crisis will have a significant effect even though the worst collateral damage of the crisis will be contained. The result of this will remain as a burden to bear and finance for the children and youth of today.
In January 2013, youth unemployment rate in Europe rose to a new level at 21.6 per cent. In some countries, the situation has escalated even further and where youth unemployment stands at more than 50 per cent. There are currently more than 3.3 million unemployed young people under the age of 25. At the same time, the demographics of Europe are shifting and income differences increasing. As a result of this demographic shift, the current and upcoming generations will have to work more and longer than ever to ensure that the needs of the aging generations are taken care of.
Youth unemployment is a grave threat to both the future livelihood and working careers of young people. Research shows that unemployment early on in a working career correlates with unemployment later on, weak career progression and a social exclusion. Short term employment and fragmentary careers weaken not only the career prospects of the young but also their future pensions and through this intergenerational equality within pension systems.
Responding to the financial crisis, some European countries have started to use pension funds for financing other costs. Using pension funds as part of austerity measures and crisis management is not a sustainable fiscal or social policy. The unnecessary introduction to dismantle the pension funds might cause enormous costs and pressures for new saving measures in the future.
Our common Europe needs strong efforts for the future of children and the youth. Cutting education or social support for students are the complete opposite. This will not be achieved by the exclusion of young people from the working life. Therefore, the European Union must, without further delay, take action and stop youth unemployment from increasing further and find ways to guarantee intergenerational equality.