‘Crisis has hit young Italians hardest’: Kyenge

Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s integration minister and delegate for youth policies, told The Local on Tuesday that young Italians have been the worst affected by the country's harsh economic crisis and that preparing them for the workforce, whether in Italy or abroad, was "crucial" for their development.

'Crisis has hit young Italians hardest': Kyenge
Italy's integration minister and delegate for youth policies, Cecile Kyenge. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Kyenge was speaking after an event held in Rome by the National Agency for Youth (ANG) to promote Italy’s involvement in Erasmus+, an expansion of the EU’s flagship educational exchange scheme which came into force on January 1st.

Against a backdrop of soaring youth unemployment across much of the Eurozone, the European Parliament last year agreed a €16 billion investment, to be spread over the next six years, to expand the Erasmus scheme to incorporate training, education, youth and sport initiatives.

Kyenge said the scheme, which is open to those between the ages of 13 and 30, would not only equip young Italians with skills essential for the workforce, but would also give them the opportunity to broaden their horizons in other markets.

“It’s a platform for them to be able to develop competencies and will give our young people access to another world of work,” she said.

Jobless rates in Italy have reached a record high of 12.7 percent and unemployment among 15- to 24-year-olds stands at 41.6 percent.

Kyenge added that young people have “suffered most from the crisis, and not just in terms of employment.”

She said that alongside Erasmus+, Italy has a great opportunity to get involved in another EU initiative – Youth Guarantee – designed to help young people receive a “concrete offer” of either a job, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of leaving education or becoming unemployed.

Young people not in employment, education or training are estimated to cost the EU €153bn a year.

Don't miss a story about Italy – Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Boys who shot blanks at Gambian national “did it for a laugh”

Two Italian youths who shot blanks at a Gambian man in Vicofaro in the Tuscan town of Pistoia last week are just 13 years of age, it has emerged.

Boys who shot blanks at Gambian national “did it for a laugh”
Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/Depositphotos

The boys, who cannot be charged with a crime as they are below the age of 14, told police they did it for fun, and that the act of aggression was not racially or political motivated.

But their victim, 24-year-old Buba Seaasay, told La Repubblica that his attackers shouted racial abuse at him, calling him “bastard” and “black”, before shooting the blanks.

Seaasay told reporters he was headed down the street with his back to the boys when he heard the shouts, followed by the sound of two gunshots. He gave chase, but the two managed to escape.

“People always talk rubbish like this, but I never expected they would shoot a gun,” Seaasay said.

“It's too much.”


The Gambian national, who is staying in the town as a guest of Vicofaro parish priest Don Massimo Biancalani, showed one of the cartridge casings to the priest, who then accompanied Seaasay to the local police station to file a report.

Police used CCTV footage to identify the minors and received a confession after searching their homes and finding a blank gun and approximately 200 blank cartridges.


Racist attacks have been on the rise in Italy in recent months.Two weeks ago 22-year-old discus-thrower Daisy Osakue, who was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and represents Italy in international athletics competitions, was assaulted in a drive-by attack that left her with a black eye.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was criticised for saying the attack on Osakue was not racially motivated.

The opposition to Italy's current populist administration have accused it of stoking hatred and creating a climate of intolerance.

ANALYSIS: As racist attacks increase, is there a 'climate of hatred' in Italy?