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Official warns of youth disengagement in Europe


12:01, June 01, 2013

BRUSSELS, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The European Union's youth and culture commissioner Androulla Vassiliou on Friday warned of young people's disengagement in the continent's political affairs largely due to unemployment and lack of communication channels.

"I see a clear danger that unemployment, poverty, disengagement and the lack of effective upward channels of communication to political actors lead to polarization, disengagement or extremism," Vassiliou said at the event of the EU's youth programs marking its 25 years' anniversary.

According to the commissioner, the EU's first youth program was launched back in 1988, at which time Europe was seeking its way out of an economic crisis with its youth unemployment standing at around 20 percent.

"Today, as 25 years ago, youth unemployment is again a great concern," she said.

After several years of economic crisis and sovereign debt crisis across Europe, unemployment, and in particular youth unemployment, has become an urgent concern for policymakers at European and national levels.

In Europe, young people not in employment, education, training, or the so-called "NEETs", show less interest in politics and less willingness to vote or engage in social participation, according to a recent survey.

Another recent Eurobarometer survey shows that less than 50 percent of young people have a positive image of the EU, and most of them consider the current political system neither sufficiently listening nor sufficiently adapting to their needs.

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