Corona consequences in Italy for youth – politics


The debt crisis is followed by the corona crisis: more and more young Southern Europeans are leaving their homes without jobs and prospects. That has social consequences there now.

Daniele Scordato actually had no intention of leaving his country. His life plan was to stay in Sicily. But now the 28-year-old has changed his mind. A job as an assistant doctor is not guaranteed in Italy – last year around half of all applicants were left empty-handed.

Scordato would rather become a doctor in Italy and, like many of his countrymen, live close to family and friends. But in the meantime he has decided to go to Germany, where he believes his prospects are better.

Scordato is part of a formidable exodus that has robbed Southern Europe of its talents and young professionals for more than a decade. The number of Italians living abroad has increased by 70 percent since 2006. In 2018 alone, 128,000 left their homes, but that’s only the official statistics.

It is estimated that the number could be three times as high. The Italian migration researcher Delfina Licata says that this is not a temporary, but a “structural phenomenon”. The corona pandemic will probably make things worse.

Southern Europeans who were born in 1990 are now experiencing the second severe economic crisis of their short working lives. The first, in 2010, not only brought Italy the third highest youth unemployment rate after Greece and Spain. It also shaped the perception that Italy is “not a country for young people”, as the title of a film says.

Young families also leave their country

The British recently appeared Economist with a cover picture that shows a young Southern European who, like Sisyphus, rolls a huge stone up a mountain. But a second rock comes towards him from above and threatens to crush it.

Many young Italians return home after a few years, but the number of emigrants currently exceeds that of returnees by around 70,000 – and the number is increasing. According to an OECD study, Italy had the highest proportion of emigrants in Europe between 2006 and 2016, after Romanians and Poland.

What is particularly worrying, according to migration researcher Licata, is that the average age is falling and not only young adults, but more and more families with children are leaving their country. “When young families emigrate, they usually want to stay far away,” she says.

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