THE German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned a Paris conference of French, German and Italian leaders on Tuesday that youth unemployment of almost 25% throughout the EU (double the adult rate) threatened the continent with the end of the European Union and with revolution.
Schaeuble for good measure added that if there was any abandoning of the continent’s ‘welfare model’ in favour of tough US no-holds-barred measures (as favoured by the UK), ‘we would have a revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day’.
He also noted that, ‘We need to be more successful in our fight against youth unemployment, otherwise we will lose the battle for Europe’s unity.’
The Italian Minister for Labour Enrico Giovannini added that European leaders needed to work together to ‘rescue an entire generation of people who are scared that they will never find any work.
‘We have the best-educated generation and we are putting them on hold. This is not acceptable.’
François Hollande, the French president, dubbed the continent’s youth the ‘post-crisis generation’, who will ‘for ever after, be holding today’s governments responsible for their plight’.
He warned: ‘Remember the postwar generation, my generation. Europe showed us and gave us the support we needed, the hope we cherished. The hopes that we could get a job after finishing school, and succeed in life. Can we be responsible for depriving today’s young generation of this kind of hope?’
‘We’re talking about a complete breakdown of identifying with Europe.
‘Imagine all of the hatred, the anger. What’s really at stake here is, not just “Let’s punish those in power.” No. Citizens are turning their backs on Europe and the construction of the European project.’
Hollande urged a ‘youth guarantee’ to promise everyone under 25 a job, further education or training.
The plan, which has been discussed by the European Commission, will be supported by 6bn euros (£5bn) of EU cash over the next five years. Another 16bn euros in European structural funds is also set aside for youth employment projects.
The EU Commission estimates youth joblessness costs the EU 153bn euros in unemployment benefit, lost productivity and lost tax revenue.
However, Werner Hoyer, head of the European Investment Bank (EIB), warned ministers not to have ‘expectations’ that were unrealisable. ‘Let’s be honest. There is no quick fix, there is no grand plan,’ he admitted.
The youth employment crisis will be a central theme of a June EU leaders’ summit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited EU labour ministers to a youth unemployment conference in Berlin on July 3.
A cross section of youth unemployment percentage figures for Europe show Ireland at 30.3%, the UK 20.7%, Spain 55.9%, Greece 64%, Italy 40%, Slovakia 35%, Poland 28%, and France 27%, with only a handful of countries below 20%.
This is the time bomb that has started to explode all over the EU, as the masses realise that the bourgeoisie have lost all confidence that it can unite Europe, and that the EU’s productive forces especially the working class and the youth are being destroyed at a prodigious rate. The sections of the bourgeoisie who hope to be able to escape from this situation are being met by the ‘realism’ of the European Investment Bank (EIB) that ‘there is no quick fix’.
The issue remains for the classes to fight it out to determine what kind of Europe there is going to be.
Only a socialist revolution can give Europe a future, as the Socialist United States of Europe, where the productive forces are organised by the working class to produce not for profit but to satisfy people’s needs.
The millions of young people whom the crisis is revolutionising are already terrifying the bourgeoisie. There is no doubt that they will be the revolutionary leadership that will organise the struggle to carry through the European Socialist revolution, getting rid of capitalism for ever.
This is the struggle that is now on hand!