News / Europe

Italy's Youth Blame Parents' Generation for Job Crisis

TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell

Italy's new Prime Minister Mario Monti says his new government will introduce incentives for companies to employ more young people. Youth unemployment in Italy is among the highest in Europe at and the lack of jobs for young people is stoking tensions between the generations.

Performing with his acapella group in Rome's jazz clubs is one of Jacopo Romei's many pastimes.

Life wasn't always so harmonious.

Jacopo struggled in early life - spending a year living on the streets of the capital. But he fought back and now runs a successful IT consultancy firm, Ideato.

Jacopo says life is getting tougher for Italy's youth.

"It's hard," Jacopo said.  "You know, we are in a sort of transition between a free job market and a protected job market. There are no clear rules. So many are settled down to a model that doesn't exist any more while no one is really pushing the new model. And it's quite hard to match the extremes."

Analysts say those extremes are pulling Italian society apart.  In October, youths rioted on the streets of Rome after a 200,000-strong protest turned violent.

Then students clashed with police in cities across Italy, protesting against the new government.

Prime Minister Mario Monti has pledged new incentives for companies to hire young people.

But plans to increase the retirement age and slash state pensions are exacerbating the generational divide.

Michel Martone is a professor of labor law at Rome's LUISS University.

"The cause which is more important is what I have been calling 'generational selfishness,'" Martone noted.  "In some ways, the father has too many rights and too much money has been spent to pay for their rights - the pension rights, early retirement, for many things - and we have the third [highest] public debt in the world. Because we had a quality of life we couldn't afford."

Official figures show unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds hit 29.3% in October. The overall rate is 8.3%.

"Many, many young people are leaving Italy," Martone added.  "They are leaving and going to other countries because in some way they don't want to pay these huge debts they didn't contribute to create."

Rome's rush hour metro is still packed with commuters, but many young people here don't have their own homes to return to.

The latest available figures show over half of under 35-year-olds in Italy still live with their parents.

Psychologist Angela Salina has been studying the mental effects of the crisis on young people.

"The most common psychological problem these days is anxiety: the inability to face the unknown and to stimulate creativity. The problem for young people is that they feel they have no role in society," said Salina.

Back at the jazz club, Jacopo Romei had this advice for Italy's young unemployed.

"You have to stress your endurance," Romei noted.  "You have to decide whether to complain or to act. If you decide you like your country, that's enough to decide not to complain and to try hard."

Analysts say that unless Italy can kick-start its sluggish economy into growth, the struggle for its young people to find a secure future will continue.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid