As a little girl, Rubeena Begum had big plans: she would become a doctor and secure a decent income working in one of the 30 hospitals in the Himalayan state of Kashmir in north India.
At the last summit of European heads of state held in Brussels at the end of June, the main theme was youth unemployment, which has now reached 23 percent of European youth (although it stands at 41 percent in Spain).
The recent agreement for the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo has confirmed that the European Union (EU) is still acting as a “magnet”, attracting its external neighbours and transforming and integrating them. Thanks to its prospects for EU membership, the whole Balkan area has become more stable and secure. Unfortunately, this virtuous magnetism no longer exerts the same force of attraction on our own citizens.
The European Union (EU) has asked its citizens to brace for further economic misery. In a report on European economic prospects released on May 3, the European Commission said that further deterioration is expected to last at least until 2015. But, as every such report says, things will then get better.
For a long time it was a given that while Europe was based on defending a more just society, with social values and solidarity, the United States was based on the glory of individualism and competition, and anything public was considered “socialist”.
“They wanted to hire me, and that was something that hadn’t ever happened to me before,” says Marta Seror, a 25-year-old college graduate from Spain who is now working in an outsourcing company in Poland.
"That's where I sleep," says Fernando, indicating a puddled area under a bridge. A 62-year-old Portuguese citizen, he has lived in Spain for 15 years, and he is part of the growing number of homeless people in this country wracked by a merciless economic and financial crisis.
The air is heavy with the smell of marijuana as Gibrilla (23) expertly rolls a large joint at the Members of Blood (M.O.B) gang base in a poor neighbourhood of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
With youth populations growing faster than jobs in the Pacific Islands, young women, who are also confronting social pressures to conform to traditional gender roles, account for the highest rates of unemployment in most countries.
The austerity programmes being rolled out in virtually every member state of the European Union (EU) - particularly in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy - have failed to reach their stated objective of consolidating public finances in order to solve sovereign debt crises.