WORKSHOP - What future for today’s young people in Europe?

Date: 19 September ­– From 6.00 pm
Language: English, Italian and Spanish (Simultaneous translation)

Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering.
Pope Benedict XVI. in the Encyclical Letter “Caritas in Veritate” (No. 25)

For many years now high rates of youth unemployment have been a challenge to policy makers in the European Union as well as in the Member States and European societies.
In January 2013 more than 20 % of job seekers under 25 in the EU were unable to find a job. For this reason, youth unemployment is twice that for the total work force in the EU. If one includes the so-called NEETs (meaning those not in employment, education or training) the picture gets even worse: 7.5 million young people aged 15 – 24 are neither employed nor following study courses nor professional training. But these are only the young people who are covered by the statistics. How about the other segment of young people, those who have found a job? Do they have all the opportunities? Do they know where they are going in life? While previous generations could often look back over 40 years working in the same company, these days many young people struggle their way from one fixed-term employment contract to another. Some researchers speak in this context also of “status inconsistencies” as the change of a job does not necessary go hand-in-hand with a better position or a better salary. However, nowadays flexibility is the rule and being prepared to work anywhere in the EU. Fixed-term contracts, which often go hand-in-hand with interim periods of unemployment, take their toll on the individual, on his/her family as well on society as a whole. This existing state of affairs can frequently lead to a sense of restlessness with an endless search for jobs, moving to new areas and, last but not least, getting used to a new social environment, along with fears for the future and postponing of family decisions (marriage, having a child...), with strong demographic effects.

What are the sources of the current employment crisis for young people? What answers does the European Union give? What is the personal impact of the situation on the young people? What can the Church and its organisation do to give support to the young people? These and other questions we propose to discuss in the workshop.

A panel discussion followed by an open debate.

Chairman: His Excellency Mgr Gianni Ambrosio, Bishop of Piacenza-Bobbio (Italy), Vice-President of COMECE.
Speaker: Martin Wilde, General Secretary of the European chapter of the International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC, Union Internationale des Associations Patronales Chretiennes) and General Secretary of the Associations of Catholic Entrepreneurs (Germany)
José Fernando Almazán, President of HOAC (Spain), Representative of the European Christian Workers Movement
Piergiorgio Sciacqua, Co-President of the European Centre for Workers