02. January 2013

‘No Country for Young Men’ Takes on EU Presidency

by James Kilcourse

james-kilcourse-2012-2015-modified‘The Irish Presidency will prioritise the issue of youth unemployment. With over 20% of the EU’s young people experiencing unemployment, this has to be our priority. We will push for a comprehensive EU approach to tackling this problem, starting with the Youth Employment Package. In particular, we aim to get consensus on the principles of the Youth Guarantee.’

This statement was made on 17 December 2012 by the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, as he outlined the agenda of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The motto of the Presidency is ‘Stability, Jobs, Growth’, which is hardly surprising given that Ireland has suffered a drastic decline in economic output and employment since 2008 and has been an EU-IMF programme country since November 2010.

Read more …

30. December 2012

Happy New Year to Old Russia

by Ivan Lavrentjev

ivan-lavrentjev-modifiedThere has always been a question: does the Russian nation belong to the bosom of the Western world in terms of culture? Most of the researchers find that it doesn’t. According to Huntington’s classification, Russia along with its satellite states presents an unique Orthodox civilization1.

Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime2 also helps us to classify Russia as an Asian, rather than a European state. Last year, thanks to the mass protests in Moscow and other Russian cities, little hope emerged that changes are about to happen. But they did, yet not in a way the liberal Kremlin opponents expected: the number of political prisoners reached to 38 individuals3, several laws limiting public demonstrations and activity by NGO have been successfully passed. Escaping motiveless prosecution, four people have moved to Estonia and gained political asylum in my home country.

Read more …

21. December 2012

O Tetris Tree – A Comment on the Brussels Christmas … Installation

by Juliane Sarnes

juliane-sarnes-2012-2013-modifiedAs I was putting stamps on my traditionally late Christmas cards and trying to remember where I have hidden the presents for my loved ones, I came across an article on BBC News with the slightly bewildering title “Abstract Christmas tree sparks protests in Brussels”. Interesting, I thought. That must be some tree! And then I nearly swallowed the stamp I was licking: “More than 11,000 signatures have been gathered in the online petition and a Facebook page attacking the new feature has been launched!“

Read more …

19. December 2012

Death trips. Dream destination: Europe.

by Theodora Matziropoulou

theodora-matziropoulou-modifiedFriday, 14th of December, early morning. With daylight, one more tragedy was revealed in the Aegean Sea. The trip of 28 irregular immigrants attempting to pass from Turkey to Lesvos Island ended in dramatic way because of bad weather. Midway, due to overload and due to strong winds, the boat overturned and disappeared into the icy waters. Dream destination: Europe.A 20-year-old man was found alive in hypothermic shock state and he is hospitalized. According to the survivor, all of them had paid $ 2000 each for their transportation from Turkey toGreece. 21people found dead by the Coast Guard, which since that afternoon continues search the sea area in cooperation with forces of FRONTEX. 6 people are missing. Because of the cold and inclement weather cannot have survived some.

Read more …

12. December 2012

Are you (un) employed? Check what you have studied!

by Lukáš Fúčela

Lukas FucelaAs my FutureLab Fellow Juliane Sarnes has mentioned in her recent blog the European Commission proposed a package of measures „Youth Employment Package“ to help to find the solution for almost one quarter of young Europeans who are currently unemployed.

I definitely appreciate such initiatives which are trying to inter alia strengthen the skills of fresh graduates and help them to bond with the actual job market needs.However, as I have myself experienced the process of adapting to the field of employment after graduating just half a year ago I wanted to find out more about the causes of present critical situation in which are found total 23 per cent of young Europeans.

Read more …