“They take our jobs” is one of the most common statements made against migrants. Since the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, which led to serious economic problems in almost all European countries, this argument has been spread even more widely, and with the increase in the number of refugees seeking to come to Europe in the last couple of years, this argument has been used by many to suggest that Europe should close its borders.
Young people have been particularly badly hit by Europe’s unemployment crisis, with youth unemployment rates far exceeding rates for the rest of the population in almost all EU countries. But is this employment crisis really because of migration? There are many causes for increased unemployment rates, especially among young people in Europe, including technological advancements and other changes to economies and industry – but it can be argued that government policies have worsened the problem in much of Europe since the financial crisis.
Many European countries reacted to the financial crisis with huge budget cuts, also known as austerity measures, even though many economists question the ability of these measures to stimulate economic growth.1 Budget cuts have often fallen disproportionately on young people, and countries that have endured some of the harshest austerity measures: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Ireland and Portugal, have also seen the largest increases in youth unemployment rates.2 Many economists have warned that the effect of austerity politics on young people is leading to a “lost generation” in Europe.3
Young people are paying the bill for a financial crisis they did not cause, with inadequate measures to tackle youth unemployment and misguided cuts to public spending causing real harm to the prospects of young people all over Europe. Despite this, populist politicians and media continue to blame many of the problems facing European societies and employment markets on migrants and refugees. Should we really be blaming all our problems on migration?
Whether or not we are asylum-seekers, we are all Life Seekers, who desire a better future. Do you agree that European governments should focus on the real problems facing our societies, and stop scapegoating migrants and refugees? Raise your voice by joining the #LifeSeekers campaign!
- Paul Krugman: The austerity delusion ↩
- Data from Eurostat ↩
- Europe Could Face a ‘Lost Generation,’ Report Warns ↩