Ten influential Dutch public figures including politicians, writers, comedians, and trade unionists, have sounded the alert on the issue of rising youth unemployment in Europe. In an appeal, published inDe Volkskrant on August 16, theStop European Youth Unemployment campaign by the FNV Jong trade union, they call on European leaders to organise a summit on the future of Europe’s young people as a matter of urgency —

While all eyes in Europe remain focused on the bailout plans for countries and banks, a social tragedy is unfolding, which at the very least, must be addressed with an urgent rescue plan. Youth unemployment has reached astronomical proportions. […] As a society, the price that we will pay for a lost generation will be a lot more than all of the billions spent to save any of the long list of bankrupt banks.

In Europe, 5.5 million under-25s are without a job, close to twice the number of unemployed in older age brackets. And this figure is increasing in all EU countries, including the Netherlands. Here, where the rate of unemployment is relatively low, we have 25 per cent more young unemployed than last year. The authors of the appeal notably draw attention to budgetary cuts in youth education services —

We cannot allow this human capital to be devalued and given up for lost. We must show solidarity in the fraternal drive to oppose budgetary austerity. As a latent intergenerational conflict this campaign has the potential to offer a fertile terrain for radicalisation in politics.