Generation E

Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, as they face a future where the recent certainties - the Euro, comfortable growth, ever closer union - have been brought into question.

She explores the challenges they face and the innovative ways they are meeting them.

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0101Portugal's Reverse Migration20110829

Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, as they face a future where the recent certainties - the Euro, comfortable growth, ever closer union - have been brought into question.

She explores the challenges they face and the innovative ways they are meeting them.Portugal has never had so many graduates, but at the same time, it has never been so hard for young people to find work.

They call themselves the geração à rasca, or "desperate generation" - university graduates aged from 21 to 35 who are desperate to start a career, earn a steady wage and move out of their parents' homes.

Faced with a choice between dead-end jobs and a one-way ticket to another life elsewhere, they are leaving in droves - and many are heading for Portugal's former colonies in Africa and Latin America.

Lucy talks to Natalia, an angry young teacher from Porto, employed on a string of badly paid, temporary contracts.

In Lisbon she runs into Antonio, a young businessman who encourages her to look for work in Angola.

Lucy also meets Alexandre, one of the young leaders of Portugal's M12M protest movement.

Inspired partly by the youth uprisings in north Africa, Alexandre and tens of thousands of other dejected graduates are rebelling against their plight in an unexpected way that has tapped into some of Portugal's deepest social grievances.

In March the group held mass demonstrations in ten cities after sending messages to supporters on Facebook.

Hence the name M12M, "Movement of the 12th of March".

Lucy attends an M12M protest picnic in a Lisbon park and finds out why a song entitled 'What A Fool I Am' has become the unofficial anthem of Portugal's "precarious generation".

Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

How Portuguese graduates are forced to leave their country to find work.

0102Life In A Spanish Ghost Town20110830

Spain's economic crisis has pushed record numbers to default on their mortgages and repossessions are at an all time high.

Some claim that 180 families are now being evicted from their homes each day.

Yet at the same time the country is full of brand new, empty properties.

When the real estate bubble burst, it left behind a country full of empty lots, half built homes and unnamed streets.

On the outskirts of big cities, it is common to find large apartment blocks inhabited by just a handful of families.

Nowhere is the problem more acute than in Valdeluz, an hour's drive north of Madrid.

This dormitory city was designed back in 2004 for 30,000 people but only a few hundred people moved in.

They have seen the value of their flats halved and many fear they will never be able to sell up and move elsewhere.

It's a negative equity nightmare but a group of young reisdents are determined to make the best of things.

They describe the joys of rollerblading down the deserted streets and the quiet, wide open spaces.

They also say the low number of people has fostered a warm community spirit and that Valdeluz has the atmosphere of a big village.

Joaquin Ormazabal, the newly elected mayor tells Lucy his vision of Utopia is modelled on Basildon in Essex.

Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

Spain's economic crisis has pushed record numbers to default on their mortgages.

0103The Picnic Protesters20110831

Leila Chaibi was fed up with paying more and more for basic food in her local supermarket.

So she invented what she describes as a new kind of political action.

She organises flash mobs to take food off the shelves, unwrap it and invite shoppers to dine with them, in the supermarket itself.

Leila and her friends claim they are using an old French law that allows customers to try food before buying it.

So far they have escaped arrest and being charged with criminal damage or theft.

Her group "L'Appel et la Pioche" (a pun on "the pick and shovel", spelled as if to say "the appeal" and shovel) campaigns against global capitalism, consumerism, bank bail-outs, poor housing, expensive food, what they consider high profit margins and the fact that many French youth of today are worse off than their parents.

Lucy also visits a couple of socially conscious, cut-price restaurants.

One of them helps train young people who have been in trouble with the law.

Another is both a cheap place to eat and a place where local charities can come to cook and do some fund-raising.

Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

Lucy meets the French group L'Appel et la Pioche which campaigns against global capitalism

010420110901
0105 LASTPoland's Young Beggars20110902

Poland is the only nation in Europe that did not enter recession during the global financial crisis.

The country is booming, construction is on the rise and families are buying more cars and household goods.

An increasing number of Poles are returning to their homeland from Britain, cashed up after earning wages in a stronger currency and demanding the latest in Western food and fashion.

Yet at the same time, a group of young Polish Catholics spent this summer turning their backs on the material world.

Lucy joins a group of young men and women trekking along the beaches of the Baltic sea with no money in their pockets.

They tell her they have no idea about when they would next eat nor where they would spend the night.

Every evening when they arrive in a town or village, they hold a mass and then ask local people to put them up.

What drives them and how representative are they of Polish youth today?

Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

Lucy Ash meets young Polish Catholics who have turned their backs on the material world.

0201Germany's Eldorado20120813

Lucy visits Schwabisch Hall which has been swamped with young job applicants.

0201Germany's Eldorado20120813

As the economic crisis deepens and schisms emerge, Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, who face an uncertain future. She explores the challenges they face and the ways in which they are meeting them.

In this programme Lucy travels to the southern German town of Schwabisch Hall which, after a publicity drive, was inundated with job requests from Portugal; dozens simply pitched up, asking for a job.

When the economic crisis hit, Latvia introduced some of the strictest austerity measures to be found anywhere in Europe. Its GDP fell by 25 per cent. Now it is trumpeted by the IMF as a great success story. But Lucy Ash discovers that life for young people is still extremely tough. She speaks to those who have lost their homes but still owe the banks huge debts, while others have simply left the country.

In Italy she meets Milan's youngest city councillor, who says he is trying to change the corrupt politics of his country and argues that it is Italy's - and his - last chance.

The new Hungarian government has introduced a raft of new laws, which critics argue are increasingly authoritarian and, in some cases, break EU laws. Lucy hears how sleeping rough on the streets is punishable by a fine or prison sentence; and about how some students who receive a government grant are required to sign an agreement saying they won't leave the country for ten years.

In Poland she visits a re-opened coal mine which is attracting young workers in an area of high unemployment; and she speaks to young entrepreneurs who are resorting to illegal means because they say the country's taxes are crippling them.

0202Loans for Life in Latvia20120814

Lucy visits Latvia, where she finds that life for young people is particularly tough.

0202Loans for Life in Latvia20120814

As the economic crisis deepens and schisms emerge, Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, who face an uncertain future. She explores the challenges they face and the ways in which they are meeting them.

In this programme she travels to Latvia. When the economic crisis hit, Latvia introduced some of the strictest austerity measures to be found anywhere in Europe. Its GDP fell by 25 per cent. Now it is trumpeted by the IMF as a great success story. But Lucy Ash discovers that life for young people is still extremely tough. She speaks to those who have lost their homes but still owe the banks huge debts, while others have simply left the country.

In Italy she meets Milan's youngest city councilor, who says he is trying to change the corrupt politics of his country and argues that it is Italy's - and his - last chance.

The new Hungarian government has introduced a raft of new laws, which critics argue are increasingly authoritarian and, in some cases, break EU laws. Lucy hears how sleeping rough on the streets is punishable by a fine or prison sentence; and about how some students who receive a government grant are required to sign an agreement saying they won't leave the country for ten years.

In Poland she visits a re-opened coal mine which is attracting young workers in an area of high unemployment; and she speaks to young entrepreneurs who are resorting to illegal means because they say the country's taxes are crippling them.

0203Italy's Five Star Idealist20120815

Lucy Ash is in Italy with Milan's youngest city councillor who wants to clean up politics.

0203Italy's Five Star Idealist20120815

As the economic crisis deepens and schisms emerge, Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, who face an uncertain future. She explores the challenges they face and the ways in which they are meeting them.

In this programme Lucy is in Italy where she meets Milan's youngest city councillor, who says he is trying to change the corrupt politics of his country and argues that it is Italy's - and his - last chance.

The new Hungarian government has introduced a raft of new laws, which critics argue are increasingly authoritarian and, in some cases, break EU laws. Lucy hears how sleeping rough on the streets is punishable by a fine or prison sentence; and about how some students who receive a government grant are required to sign an agreement saying they won't leave the country for ten years.

In Poland she visits a re-opened coal mine which is attracting young workers in an area of high unemployment; and she speaks to young entrepreneurs who are resorting to illegal means because they say the country's taxes are crippling them.

0204Hungary's Graduates - Trapped by the State20120816

Lucy Ash is in Hungary, where students were suddenly told they faced university tuition.

0204Hungary's Graduates - Trapped by the State20120816

As the economic crisis deepens and schisms emerge, Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, who face an uncertain future. She explores the challenges they face and the ways in which they are meeting them.

In this programme Lucy is in Hungary. During their last year at high school, tens of thousands of young Hungarians got a nasty surprise - they will have to pay to go to university. As for the lucky students, exempted from tuition fees, they will have to stay in their country for up to a decade after graduation. Desperate to avoid a brain drain, the Hungarian government says that is only fair but many claim the new law violates freedom of movement within the European Union.

The final programme in the series, tomorrow, comes from Poland where young people are going underground, literally down re-opened coal mines; and Lucy also speaks to young entrepreneurs who are resorting to illegal means because they say the country's taxes are crippling them.

0205 LASTPoland's Underground Economy20120817

Lucy Ash is in Poland with the young people going underground - in mines and in business.

0205 LASTPoland's Underground Economy20120817

As the economic crisis deepens and schisms emerge, Lucy Ash travels across Europe to meet the continent's next generation, who face an uncertain future. She explores the challenges they face and the ways in which they are meeting them.

In the final programme of the series, Lucy Ash visits Katowice, in south east Poland, where young people are going underground, literally down re-opened coal mines because there are few other jobs available, and legally, as Lucy discovers when she speaks to young entrepreneurs who are resorting to illicit means because they say the country's taxes are crippling them.