After 2012 the demonstrations largely melted away.
Youth unemployment in the EU is around 25%. In Greece and Spain it is nearly 60%. In Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain, around 20% of those aged 15-29 were not in education, employment or training.
So why aren't they out in the streets? Did the economies of those countries improve? Did the governments become more responsive?
As economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013, the youth of Greece became invisible in social and economic life. The young have been largely absent from politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe...To answer this question, consider Spain.
Similar patterns can be observed in several other European countries, though perhaps not as extreme. What is the youth of Portugal doing as the country's social structures continue to collapse? Where is the youth of France as the country drifts further into stagnation and irrelevance?
Spain’s forthcoming Citizens’ Security Law. A decidedly Orwellian item, it proposes fines of up to 30,000 euros ($41,000) for “offensive” slogans against the country and up to 600,000 euros ($824,000) for unauthorized street protests...
The original draft of the law covers a lot of ground, including fines of up to 30,000 euros for “participating in the disruption of citizens’ security while using hoods, helmets, or any other article of clothing or object that covers the face, rendering identification difficult or impossible,” or for “disrupting citizens’ security at gatherings in front of the Congress of Deputies, the Senate, and regional legislative assemblies, even when these are not in session.” Fines of up to 1,000 euros ($1,400) are prescribed for hampering pedestrian traffic, losing one’s identity document more than three times in five years and circulating images of members of state security forces that might infringe upon their “right to honor.”
It's somehow fitting that the same Spain that George Orwell nearly gave his life for has imposed authoritarian laws.
It isn't just Spain. If Orwell had gone to Spain to fight for democracy today, he would have been arrested as a terrorist when he got back to England.
If convicted of fighting abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive" – a charge they would find hard to contest – they would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. That they were fighting to defend an elected government against a fascist rebellion would have no bearing on the case. They would go down as terrorists.Notice how fighting for money isn't one of those things listed.
As for Greece, more than 50% of Greeks want to emigrate, and nearly 70% believe the worst of their depression is yet to come.
None of this is complete without considering the Orwellian doublespeak in the financial media.
For example consider this headline Greece is pulling off an amazing recovery with this headline Greece jobless rate hits new record of 28%.
As for Spain, consider this headline Spain's recovery with this one Spain 56% youth unemployment is unacceptable.
As for Ireland, consider these two headlines: Irish economy to grow faster this year and this headline of Irish economy unexpectedly contracts.
Orwell would roll over in his grave.
Somewhat surprisingly, it isn't Greece or Spain that has the highest emigration levels in Europe. It's Ireland, which has the 4th highest unemployment rate.
The European Commission’s statistics office figures show 35,000 more people left Ireland than arrived last year. This amounts to a net migration of -7.6 people per 1,000, compared with -7.1 in Lithuania, -5.8 in Latvia, -5.7 in Estonia, -4.0 in Greece, -3.6 in Portugal, and -3.5 in Spain.The youths that have the most marketable skills and the most ambition, the youths that are most valuable to a nation, are the ones most likely to leave and not come back. Europe is going to pay for this lost generation for a very long time.