Equal Opportunities

FutureLab Europe activities focus on the broad topics of “democratic values”, “equal opportunities” and “European identity”. Within these topics, three core questions structure the work of the programme and provide a framework for debates and discussions that will occupy the mind of the FutureLab Europe participants. These questions will therefore be reflected upon, developed and debated in the different activities of FutureLab Europe, including in the blogposts, at events and conferences, as well as in the written contributions provided by the participants.

1. Democratic values in Europe:

What can we, as young Europeans, do to ensure that Europe’s democratic values are at the basis of our societies?

2. Equal opportunities:

How can we, as young people, ensure that our society and economy offer the same opportunity to all of us?

In the aftermath of the economic crisis, a rapid and steep increase in unemployment has hit the vast majority of European countries. Young people have been disproportionately affected by such developments (21.6% of youth unemployment vs 10% of overall unemployment in EU28 in the third quarter of 2014), making the transition to adulthood particularly difficult. For instance, being on low-paid internships for a long period of time can have detrimental effects on a youngster’s future career and his/her capacity to leave the parental home and to start a family.

Besides the direct impact of the crisis on young people’s employment, labour markets and jobs are also changing in their nature and structure. The globalisation, digitalisation and automation of the economy have accelerated the disappearance of certain jobs. Furthermore, the segmentation of European labour markets between the insiders (those who are protected by various employment-preserving devices) and the outsiders (those who lack similar protection) has become even shaper. This segmentation is particularly true for young people. While some of them might have the human, social, and financial capital (mainly through family support) to deal with the new reality of the labour market, many of them do not and cannot afford belonging to a ‘generation of interns’.

It is hard to put a face on equal opportunities in such a context. Therefore, one might wonder what can be done to turn this trend around and to ensure that our society and economy offer the same chance to all young people to live a decent life and become independent from their parents. Public policies have their share of responsibilities but young people themselves play also often a catalyst role in the dissemination of innovative ideas. How can we, as young people, overcome the multiple barriers we face and ensure that our society and economy offer the same opportunity to all of us?

Read more about FutureLab Europe activities on equal opportunities

3. European Identity:

Has European identity a meaning for us, as young people, and how can we contribute to further foster it?