June 22, 2016
On April 27th, the 1989 Generation Initiative, or ‘89ers’ presented visions and proposals on the future of the European Union at the European Parliament, to an audience of MEPs, think tank professionals and young Europeans. The core message: The EU should always aim to improve its citizens’ lives. Their aspirations and livelihoods should be placed at the centre of its agenda – or more simply, should reflect the idea of Policies for People. To achieve this, the EU is to base its decisions on three broad principles – Connectivity, Solidarity and Opportunity. In this three-part series each are explored in turn.
In our last article we presented connectivity as one of our core values. Let us now talk about how exactly connectivity benefits us all. Apart from the social satisfaction, the main boon for all those connected is opportunity. By connecting with others, we generate new opportunities to learn, to work and to create or initiate new projects, movements and products. The fostering of opportunities is one of the fundamental underlying principles of the capitalist economic system. Without opportunities, new values cannot be generated and both the market and our society stagnate.
Most importantly, without opportunities, people feel bad. They can become dull, depressed, and frustrated until eventually they revolt as illustrated in countless cases throughout history; or alternatively they vote for extremist parties, much as is the case now in Europe.
Humans are intrinsically social beings and they need to interact with others to form a sense of identity and to overcome obstacles in their paths. The 1989 Generation Initiative aims to reform our governing institutions in such a way that creating opportunities becomes the focus of policy makers and other societal actors. In London competition for job placements is high, but the opportunities are there. Regardless of your academic background, you can apply to a multitude of positions and learn the necessary skills you need on the job. In other words, companies are creating opportunities for graduates. In cities like Vienna, the degree you studied is the only valid credential to apply for a job posting, making the few positions on offer only available to an elite few. By bringing the entrepreneurial spirit of global cities like London to other corners of Europe, we can create more opportunities for all graduates.
Similarly, school leavers across Europe are suffering either from a shortage of apprenticeships or from a lack of positions open to apprentices. By completing the single market with free labour mobility, we will again increase opportunities for all job seekers. Additionally, we will need to create a system of mobility scholarships and affordable educational programmes for apprentices to learn the languages and skills they need to compete in the European market.
Other places do not generate any new opportunities. This is especially the case in rural areas, where big companies do not settle and states do not invest in infrastructure. It is paramount people in these areas do not feel abandoned by the rest of the world. Our organisation aims to involve people from many different backgrounds and from across the continent. Over time, we will establish regional chapters to foster local communities, domestic perspectives and bring their grievances to the attention of European leaders.
Those who use the word “opportunities” are often instantly branded as liberal. We do not share the narrow ideological constraints of the mainstream media. In truth, opportunities are simply a human necessity, without which we could not function. Whether it is in the job market, in education or even in romance, without opportunities, we cannot live up to our full potentials and that is why the 1989 Generation Initiative sees opportunities as one of the key cornerstones of the European society we endeavour to live in. We believe in a Europe that is interconnected, allowing us to travel and cooperate with people around the continent on a daily basis. And we believe in a Europe that is here for its people and generates opportunities for them no matter where they go or how they choose to live their lives in our community. That also means that our vision of Europe entails the creation of opportunities for everyone.
Those enjoying the benefits of greater opportunity, are best-placed to deliver the same to those less fortunate. We will discuss this further in our next article.
By Dominik Kirchdorfer.1989 Generation