Europe's hollow efforts to save a lost generation

Europe is failing in the fight against youth unemployment. While the German government's efforts remain largely symbolic, Southern European leaders pander to older voters by defending the status quo, reports DIE SPIEGEL REPORTERS

Stylia Kampani did everything right, and she still doesn't know what the future holds for her. The 23-year-old studied international relations in her native Greece and spent a year at the University of Bremen in northern Germany. She completed an internship at the foreign ministry in Athens and worked for the Greek Embassy in Berlin. Now she is doing an unpaid internship with the prestigious Athens daily newspaper Kathimerini. And what happens after that? "Good question," says Kampani. "I don't know."

"None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a normal life," says Kampani. "That wasn't quite the case four years ago."Four years ago -- that was before the euro crisis began. Since then, the Greek government has approved a series of austerity programmes, which have been especially hard on young people. The unemployment rate among Greeks under 25 has been above 50 percent for months. The situation is similarly dramatic in Spain, Portugal and Italy. According to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, the rate of unemployment among young adults in the EU has climbed to 23.5 percent. A lost generation is taking shape in Europe. And European governments seem clueless when they hear the things people like Athenian university graduate Alexandros are saying: "We don't want to leave Greece, but the constant uncertainty makes us tired and depressed."

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