Spanish students feel the pinch of the EU crisis

Group 5 Ida Kukkapuro and Sonja Fogelholm

Students in Spain are struggling as the economic crisis has made the government to rise the tuitions and cut the student benefits. Many graduate without any prospects of a job and are therefore forced to move back to their madre y padre – or abroad.


By Francisco Osorio (CC-BY)

‘The situation is nuts right now. There is no way for young or old people, to get a decently paid job as a journalist,’ Spanish journalism student Nerea Egia Cotera describes the situation.
Half of the young people are unemployed. The rate is the second highest in the Europe, right after Greece. With no hope of a career in Spain, young people are searching for a future abroad.
According to the National Statistics Institute last year 770 under 30-year-old left the country every day.

‘Most of the youngsters are negative and sad about the future. That´s why many of them decide to go abroad to study languages and who knows, maybe to build a new life in a new country,’ Cotera says.
Cotera is graduating from the Public university of the Basque Country in May 2013 after four years. She might have an unpaid internship waiting for her in the summer in Spain, but is at the moment considering moving abroad.

Since the economic crisis hit Spain in 2007 the government has drastically cut the public services. According to a recent article by Forbes, the center-right Popular party has suggested further education cuts of 4 billion US dollars.
Professor Vicente Navarro from the London School of Economics claims in his blog that the roots of problems are deep in the process of joining the EU. At that time the required reduction of the public deficit from 6 to 3 per cent was achieved primarily by cutting the public expenses.
When the economy started sinking, the right-wing party in power used the same method. Instead of increasing for example the corporate taxes, Spain has achieved savings by cutting public social expenditures.

‘I can´t afford living my own’
The cuts in the higher education has meant lower student benefits, poorly paid professors with longer working hours and less money on research. At the same time, the tuition fees in higher education have increased within the last two years, according to a recent study by the European Commission.
In students’ everyday life one of the big changes has been in the housing conditions. During the studies it has always been common to stay with the parents, but now even those who have tried their own wings have been forced to return to their nests.
According to the foundation La Caixa 67 per cent of 18-29-year-old lived with their parents in 2011.
‘I can´t afford living my own. After all the cuts that have been made in grants for students it´s almost impossible to start living without our parents,’ Cotera tells.
There are still student benefits, and for those who live in their own flat the government pays about 300 euros per month, tells Cotera.

Despite the dark clouds in the horizon, young people try to keep up their hope.
‘What other chance do I have? One good thing about Spaniards is that we always have a good attitude towards life,’ Cotera concludes


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