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Exclusion will alienate Central-East European young

Monday, January 11, 2016

Subject

Central-Eastern Europe's younger generation: frustrated but not yet radical.

Significance

The rise of a new generation of people who have lived all their lives in open, pluralistic societies has been seen as cementing democratic change in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE). However, young people in the region are a declining demographic group with limited political weight, few economic opportunities and sceptical of politicians. They have, nevertheless, not turned to radical-left parties on the South European pattern and instead are alternating between opposing the ex-communist left, backing short-lived protest parties and disengaging altogether.

Impacts

  • The disaffected young are contributing to fluid and unstable politics in CEE, but are not directly feeding radicalisation.
  • Young people's disinclination to support traditional left-wing parties suggests that such parties are vulnerable to longer-term decline.
  • Despite a policy focus on engaging and including the young, politicians have stronger incentives to cater for the needs of older age-groups.
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