“The current level of unemployment of young people in Europe is simply unacceptable. In a number of European countries we are facing a true social emergency.”
(Statement by President Barroso following the Round table on Youth Employment in Europe, 2013)
Today, 24% of young Europeans are unemployed – a staggering 5.6 million 15 - to 24-year-olds. But the challenges young people face extend way beyond unemployment. With the burden of supporting an ageing population, the power shift from government- to market-led policymaking, the exclusion of millions of young people not holding EU citizenship, overcoming severe financial crises at national and global levels, escalating competition from BRIC and MENA countries and climate change, there seems to be no end to the challenges young people in Europe face.
The next issue of Open Citizenship looks at the challenges facing youth in Europe, and seeks to link these debates with citizenship. We examine whether young Europeans are being given the chance to address the issues they face in their own way, and whether this need is being recognised by the EU. By considering the concerns, needs and actions of young people, we hope not only to describe the current state of European citizenship, but also to build a picture of its potential future.
For example, how is the current generation engaged as citizens in the European Union? How do they express, claim and enact their rights as young citizens and non-citizens? Are they more concerned with personal issues and assimilating into the current system or are they fighting to change institutional structures to meet their needs? As always, Open Citizenship invites different types of contributions and invites academics, practitioners, politicians and engaged citizens to express their distinct views and knowledge on the topic of youth in Europe.
Possible ideas for submissions include:
• Many commentators refer to this generation of young Europeans as a lost generation. Is it true and, if so, what does it mean? What future can this generation expect?
• How has the EU’s focus on developing skilled workers rather than active and reflective citizens affected young people? Is the idea of consumerism more or less prevalent amongst this generation of young people than preceding ones? Is this generation treated as citizens or as consumers?
• How are young people in different EU countries affected differently? Are there differences between ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic and other groups within member states, and between member states?
• When we speak about young European citizens, what do we mean exactly? Do we give prominence to citizens from particular nations or with particular status, and write off other groups? How is the situation different for young people without EU citizenship?
• What are the primary concerns of this generation of European youth? Can we speak seriously about topics including energy supply, sustainability and digital surveillance if young Europeans are more concerned about other issues?
• Are the youth being given the right of full expression, or are their modes of expression ignored? Do EU institutions take them seriously? What new forms of citizenship expression are young people using in different countries? What lessons can be drawn from youth organisations and movements that could be relevant to debate at EU level?
• How is this generation of European youth politically different from previous generations, and if so what factors have led to this development? Is it unusual that we see a rise in right-wing governments to represent youth? What impact global competition and migration can be seen on this generation?
Open Citizenship invites submissions from throughout Europe, especially countries previously underrepresented in the journal and European publications. We strive to publish a mix of both established professors and decision-makers as well as young researchers and new voices. We welcome questions on permissibility of possible submissions and are happy to work with authors to increase the chances of acceptance.
In order to assure the highest quality and broadest range of content, please note the journal’s two-step submission process. We ask authors of academic essays and commentaries to send us a short abstract or sketch of your proposed article (no more than 250 words) by Monday, 23 June 2014. Authors of accepted abstracts, as well as submissions to other sections, should submit full articles by Monday, 18 August 2014. Please send your abstracts, submissions and questions to:
• It’s Academic!: Academic essays that seek to explain or understand social and political challenges through the use of research findings (2,500–3,500 words, including bibliography).
• Open Mic: Commentaries that make a single, provocative point related to the issue theme of the journal (1,000–2,000 words).
• Movement Watch: Profiles of innovative civil society projects that serve to inspire others who want to take action (800–1,000 words).
• Critics’ Corner: Reviews of books, essays, theatre pieces and films from a citizenship perspective (300–600 words).For more information or to read past issues of the journal, please visit opencitizenship.eu.