'The eu is finding these opportunities for us'

, Gareth Lewis

Op blogs en opiniepagina’s heerst een kleurrijk debat tussen jongeren uit alle lidstaten van de EU. In Brussel gelooft Gareth Lewis niet dat de belangen van bedrijven en burgers echt uiteenlopen.

Geboren: Verenigd Koninkrijk
Woont: Brussel

Blog: International Political Forum

Het IPF is een overzichtelijk forum voor jongeren van over de hele wereld. ‘Tired of traditional media outlets, we want to tell the stories that matter.’ Zonder een politieke voorkeur geven de schrijvers visies op internationale problemen. Sinds 2012 groeide IPF tot 200 auteurs in meer dan 30 landen.

‘The EU is finding these opportunities for us’

I don’t see positive news about the EU today. Instead I see stories that tell me 55% of young people in Spain are unemployed, and the 2014 Youth Index that reports 750,000 unemployed young Britons feel they have “nothing to live for.”

I know these statistics as people.

They were my peers at university and now they share the burden of debt, unemployment, and lost opportunities with every graduating class that comes after them who are fresher, more optimistic, more employable.

What can the EU offer them? Does it value business over people?

No. I don’t buy the idea that business’ interests are different from those of ordinary citizens. We are the DNA of the European market place, either as consumers, jobseekers, entrepreneurs, or workers; and the EU’s guiding principle is to continually improve the lives of those groups.

The danger arises when economic downturns scare us into protectionism – and the UK is the best example of why this is not the answer. Look at how many companies & investors have said they will move elsewhere if the UK leaves the EU. Consider what that will mean in terms of lost jobs and destroyed livelihoods. Instead we need to be more open, less selfish. Consider, for example, what a US free trade deal will mean for the unemployed Spaniard and the despairing Briton? The EU is finding these opportunities for us.

It is easy to speak about businesses being more important than people, but building a single market is for the benefit of consumers, when mobile phone roaming tariffs are abolished; it’s for workers when they are protected by the working time directive; it’s for entrepreneurs when free movement of capital opens up a market of 500 people; and it’s for jobseekers when the EU negotiates trade deals with Singapore, Korea, Canada, the US – meaning more and better job opportunities for a young generation in a funk.

Ga naar de volgende jonge denker: Jacopo Barbati uit Italië.