Wednesday 21 February 2018

The young have not been betrayed by Brexit - but by the EU

A young woman at a Remain rally ahead of the UK Brexit referendum. Photo: Reuters
A young woman at a Remain rally ahead of the UK Brexit referendum. Photo: Reuters
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

As a Millennial, I find the narrative that the Brexit vote represented a betrayal of young people's future deeply frustrating. If anything, it could be argued that a vote to Remain would have been worse from a youth perspective.

As of 2014, one in five people aged 20 to 34 in the European Union was not in employment, education or training, amounting to a staggering 18 million in total - four times the population of Ireland. As these people toil in poverty, stress and hopelessness, the main response by EU policy-makers has been to blame the young unemployed themselves; they do so by promoting the idea that joblessness among young people is due to a "skills mismatch", which is transparently absurd when we remember that there are far more unemployed people than vacancies, and the fact that Millennials are the best-educated generation the continent has ever had.

The youth unemployment crisis is due to a lack of opportunities, not a lack of qualifications, but the EU seems determined not to let logic or facts get in the way of free-market ideology, even if it means letting a whole generation twist in the wind.

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