European youth in 2014 

On the eve of the 2014 European Elections, the European Parliament has conducted an opinion survey among young Europeans aged 16-30 in the 28 EU Member States The survey addresses in turn the five main themes of EYE 2014, an event which will be held in Strasbourg on 9-11 May: youth and employment, the digital revolution, the future of the EU, sustainable development and European values.

Youth and employment

More than half of young Europeans feel that in their country young people have been marginalised and excluded from economic and social life by the crisis (57%). Although an absolute majority of young Europeans (55% versus 42%) consider that their country’s education and training system is well adapted to the current world of work, perceptions vary significantly between Member States. More than four in ten Europeans (43%) said that they would like to work, study or undergo training in another EU country, and just over a quarter even feel forced by the crisis to go to another EU country to study or work (26%). Lastly, young Europeans are not particularly enthusiastic about entrepreneurship: more than half of young Europeans have no interest in starting their own business (52%).

The digital revolution

The digital sector has little appeal as an individual career choice for young people, although they expect it to create a large number of jobs in the coming years. Although they are heavy users of the Internet and social networks, young Europeans are divided about their democratic role: 46% believe that social networks represent progress for democracy, while 41% consider that they pose a risk.

The future of the EU

Seven in ten young Europeans consider that their country’s membership of the EU is a strength in the context of globalisation (70%). Further, they see voting in the European elections as the best way of participating in public life in the EU (44%), ahead of individual actions to help the most needy (35%).

Sustainable development

Large numbers of young Europeans have adopted everyday actions to protect the environment and combat global warming, including systematically sorting waste (74%). The development of renewable energies easily tops the list of solutions perceived as the most efficient ways of ensuring the EU’s energy independence (71%).

European values

Young people consider that, as a matter of priority, the European Parliament should defend human rights (51%), freedom of speech (41%) and gender equality (40%). Lastly, 57% of the young people interviewed believe that their generation will finally see the achievement of true gender equality, while 42% take the opposite view.