The reports provide an unprecedented source of policy relevant data on issues such as living conditions of youth including their employment status, access to and quality of education, their values and political attitudes, views on their own future and that of their respective countries as well as their tendency to migrate outside of the region.
The aim of this first series of events was to draw attention to the voice and potential of youth in the region in shaping the future. Findings were presented by Miran Lavrič and Mirna Jusić, researchers from Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several major points dominated discussions in Brussels and Berlin regarding economy, mobility, political beliefs and participation.
Regarding the economy, many of life altering decisions of youth, such as whether to stay in or leave the region or when to start a family depend on the perceived level of economic security. Researchers have also highlighted another important aspect of this dimension, i.e. the share of non-standard work in total youth employment. Findings suggest that current rates in this aspect can drive many young people in the region into in-work poverty.
When it comes to migration, trends in the region point to two clear groups of countries. Youth from non-member states are more likely to opt for long-term migration than those residing in EU member states covered by this research. The desire to leave is motivated by complete disillusionment and pessimism associated with the future of one’s country. Mobility, on the other hand, was seen as a useful tool in helping the political maturity of youth from the region. Many of those who participated in short term mobility tracks, mostly for education, are more likely to be politically and socially engaged in their home countries upon return. Additionally, calls for more intra-regional mobility were voiced by representatives of regional organizations attending the events.
Young people believe they should have a greater say in politics but very few of them are interested in politics in terms of their knowledge, but also in terms of how involved they are in traditional modes of political engagement. At the same time, they are interested in non-standard ways of political engagement often opting for issue-based activism. Youth in the region echo the voice of the new millennial socialist generation which is very expressive in its support for the welfare state while also advocating a system that is open to entrepreneurial energy.
The FES regional office will continue to collaborate with its partners across the region in communicating major findings of its youth studies throughout the year.