Generation(s) of the crises: How to address intergenerational inequalities in the EU?

Parallel Session B.2 – 12:15 – 13:30, Thursday 2 May, Sala De Gasperi, Villa Salviati, EUI

Abstract: Young Europeans are often presented as a “generation of the crises”. Crises in multiple forms (financial, economic, environmental and migration) slowly eroded the affection of the youth for the European project. European decision-makers do not seem to understand youth’s concerns and favour the interests of older generations, which form a core part of their electorates. Not only are European policies shaped by the ruling (older) generation, they also seem to clash with new and future generations’ expectations. This multidimensional and intergenerational gap puts the EU in a paradoxical situation: if the EU does not properly consider its future generations, how can it tackle the challenges ahead? How can the silver economy be reconciled with young people in a sustainable manner? Will a social Europe be able to provide both opportunities for young people and security for older generations? Despite this gloomy outlook, several pan-European initiatives are emerging, driven by young generations, which aim at reforming Europe in an innovative way. The panel will critically reflect on their emergence and on how to address intergenerational inequalities in the EU. Panellists will discuss whether the European intergenerational gaps actually are a dead-end, what has gone wrong with European politics and policy so far, and how Europe can address younger generations’ needs and concerns whilst endorsing their vision of a reformed EU.

Moderator: Christy Ann Petit, Researcher, and Coordinator, Thoughts for Europe, EUI


Lídia Pereira, President, Youth of the European People’s Party

Mario Pagano, Researcher, and Coordinator, Engaged Academics, EUI

Riina Sikkut, Minister of Health and Labour, Republic of Estonia

Philippe Van Parijs, Professor of Philosophy, Université Catholique de Louvain, and Robert Schuman Fellow, RSCAS, EUI