To who does our future belong? A new approach to youth mobility




According to the European Commission,cross-border mobility schemes for young job-seekers” are essential to reduce youth unemployment. Those who ignore the meaning of “cross-border mobility schemes” could have gone last Tuesday to the Greek theatre festival in Barcelona to get a fresh and disruptive definition.

Three young theatre companies from Montpellier, Barcelona and Berlin presented a play entitled “Utopies” that deals with the fears and challenges of a generation facing unemployment, crisis and globalisation. The play started with a hilarious presentation of an award ceremony organised by the European Commission to distinguish 12 young European talents. The ceremony was so perfectly staged that it looks at least as artificial as some of the real ones taking place in Brussels. In the play, it was clear that no one among the organisers really cared about the youth, about their future, or about the contribution they could make with their talent to our future well-being. They were on stage, but invisible – as too often. But this time, something happened that would never happen in real life. Thanks to the magic of theatre, the young awardees revolted, deciding to no longer accept the “rules of the game”.  They started dismantling the world they were living in, the studies they took, the very meaning of excellence… The youth on stage were no longer “performing” but telling us the true meaning of “mobility” i.e. exchanging ideas, mixing languages, joining forces and taking up the reins of their future.

It is difficult to think of an exit to the crisis without thinking about the role of youth in our community, and their true leadership in designing new ways to live and work.

When looking for a solution to youth unemployment, one can ask whether this solution can come from the many plans that are currently being designed by our politicians. Is the solution linked to new subsidies? Will the solution come from a new Erasmus programme? Will we be even able to finance it?

Or will it come from a shift of power?  As in the play, youth in real life could decide to take full ownership of their futures and define new objectives for their lives, new ways to think about consumption and production, new approaches to work. In this context, mobility could then be a natural feature for ALL youth, and not just for the happy few that benefit from the existing youth mobility schemes. Mobility will no longer be an experience but a way of living. And subsidies could be reinvested into direct support for job creation and innovation for and with youth.

At the end of “Utopies”, one of the actors asked: to who does our future belong? The answer may only come from youth themselves. And it may be: to us!


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