The study explores young Europeans’ views on the shocks posed by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. According to the results, job security, health and climate change are the main concerns of young people. They believe that all these challenges can best be addressed through unity and cooperation. In this context, 68% of respondents said that the COVID-19 crisis has shown that more cooperation is needed at the European level. The pandemic has also shown that health systems in the EU are underfunded, which young people see as a key investment priority for EU recovery funds.
As the war continues to rage in Ukraine, the report also showcases the strong consensus among young Europeans to support those in need; 74% of respondents believe the EU should let in more refugees from Ukraine. In the same vein, 70% support greater EU spending to help Ukrainian refugees safely enter and settle in Europe.
COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated young people’s worries about education, training, and access to decent work and employment. While 59% had a positive experience working and studying from home, 61% of young Europeans reported mental health concerns. Despite this, the proportion of those who have sought professional mental health care remains low, with only 10% reporting seeing a psychologist.
With EU leaders continuing to debate further actions to address inequalities, 69% of young people want the EU to guarantee fair minimum wages and ensure the provision of decent and affordable housing. 40% of youth in Europe think reducing pay gaps will have the greatest impact on gender equality in Europe, making it the most popular policy measure on the topic. Furthermore, almost half of young Europeans see maintaining the assistance provided to those most in need throughout the pandemic as the top long-term funding priority for the coming years.
Commenting on the findings, László Andor, FEPS Secretary General, said: “Most young people favour further EU integration, enlargement, and an EU that speaks with a single voice on the global stage. At the same time, they also strongly support an EU-wide minimum wage, and an EU role in delivering universal basic income and decent unemployment benefits. Overall, there is a strong sentiment that young people want to be more involved in EU affairs, which should be seen as key to strengthening European democracy.”
Commenting on the findings, Andrea Gerosa, Founder of ThinkYoung, said: “Young people in Europe have clearly articulated their desire for a Europe which takes a bolder approach on key issues such as human rights, defence, the environment and growth. This report is the culmination of the most in-depth study ever conducted on the priorities of young Europeans and we hope that these findings will be recognised by policymakers as they move forward with Europe’s recovery.”
Other key findings of the report include:
67% of young people think the EU should involve their generation more in European public affairs.
65% of young Europeans also want the EU to reduce energy dependency on outside sources – a view probably reinforced by the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
42% of young people support continuing financial support provided to those most in need during the pandemic.
In the fight against climate change, over two-thirds of young people want the EU to be stricter on the highest polluting companies in the EU.
61% of respondents agree that the EU must do more to protect the rights of LGBTQI+ people.
About The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)
FEPS is the think tank of the progressive political family at EU level. Its mission is to develop innovative research, policy advice, training and debates to inspire and inform socialist and social democratic politics and policies across Europe.
ThinkYoung is a think tank focused on young people. It conducts studies, surveys, focus groups and data analysis on Gen Y, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. It was founded in Brussels in 2008 and has expanded to Geneva, Nairobi and Hong Kong, studying youth behaviours and opinions in Europe, Africa and Asia.
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