News / Europe

Italy's Youth Blame Parents' Generation for Job Crisis

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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs