According to a recent Pew Research study, Europe’s youths have shifted their views and feel increasingly powerless to effect change. In a world filled with so much socio-economic instability, can we blame them?

Foreign Policy:

The future belongs to the young. So how the next generation feels and thinks matters to people of all ages. As much as baby boomers may lament it, it is millennials — those coming of age in this new century — who will shape the world’s economic and geopolitical destiny for years to come. At a time of renewed economic turmoil in Europe, growing tensions with Russia, and new evidence of China’s European ambitions, how Europeans ages 18 to 33 see their prospects, their ability to shape the future, and Europe’s relations with Russia, China, and the United States promises to have a profound effect on Europe’s role in the world…

European millennials have suffered disproportionately from their countries’ recent economic troubles. Roughly one-in-two young people in Spain and Greece are unemployed. In the face of this challenge, young Europeans often view themselves as victims of fate. And it’s a troubling state of affairs when a majority believes that they have no agency on the world around them or their future. Roughly half or more millennials in six of the seven European Union nations surveyed by the Pew Research Center last year, for instance, believe that “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control.” That includes 63 percent of young Germans and Italians and 62 percent of young Greeks and Poles.

Don’t blame moody millennials. The sentiment is more cultural than generational issue: the same Pew survey shows that older Europeans similarly lack a sense of agency. But when a people, especially a young generation, thinks it has no power to affect the trajectory of its economy and society then they are unlikely to invest the effort to create a better future.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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