As thousands of African migrants land on the golden beaches of Spain, old Europe shows the signs of fatigue. In August, most of its politicians are on holiday. Every summer, for nearly six weeks, Brussels officials cannot be bothered to ponder the future of the European Union.
In the meantime, in Mediterranean countries, the youth seem to be haunted by the same pressing question: “Will I get a proper job?” In Greece, unemployment stands at 42.9 percent; in Spain, unemployment is 35 percent; in Italy, it is more than 30 percent. Compared to the recent performance of the U.S. economy, such figures are perplexing. They indicate the existence of a severe threat to political stability and social cohesion. In both economic and existential terms, joblessness is a serious matter. Why? Because a job provides, not just an income, but also a sense of purpose. It is not government handouts or parental support that make young people happy, but personal responsibility and a deep-seated conviction that the fruits of one's labor make the world a better place.
According to official statistics, by late April 8.5 percent of the eurozone population was out of work. There are nearly 4.5 million young persons under 25 who are unemployed in the EU – a figure to which Angela Merkel added a few extra million refugees. This number does not include undocumented immigrants.