An annual economic study focusing on German youth has found that that euroskepticism has gained worryingly high currency amongst the younger population. Experts warn a euro confidence crisis could have serious effects.
Around half of young Germans aged between 14 and 24 do not believe that the euro will enjoy a successful future, according to a survey released by the Association of German Banks on Thursday.
The study, entitled the “Youth Survey 2012,” found that 56 percent of adolescents and young adults surveyed said that they could imagine a future without the euro. Only 51 percent said that they felt the single currency had proven itself.
“The results are sobering,” said Michael Kemmer, chief executive of the association, which represents more than 210 private commercial banks. Kemmer also pointed out that the report, interestingly, reveals the views of those Germans who are not of the older generation that grew up with - and may have even mourned - the deutschmark.
Growing up in times of crisis
During the presentation of the study, Kemmer also highlighted the particularly difficult circumstances in which today's youth are growing up. Tumultuous turning points have included the bursting of the Internet bubble in 2001 and 2002, the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, followed by deep recession in 2009, and the current debt crisis. Combined, they have ensured that today's youth have grown up in a unique era of crisis.
The Banking Association chief warned that the revelations had serious repercussions, as the success of currencies is ultimately reliant on confidence.
"We must be careful that we do not find ourselves saddled with a social crisis of confidence and that we are not producing a generation of euroskeptics," he said.
The study did, however, throw up one silver lining: only six percent of respondents said they were experiencing more financial difficulties. Three years ago that figure was eight percent, and in the 2003 Youth Study, it was as much as 14 percent.
The Youth Study, which focuses on the topics of economic understanding and financial culture, has been carried out every three years in Germany since 2003. A total of 758 adolescents and young adults between 14 and 24 years were interviewed for this year's report.
fi,sej/mz (AFP, dpa)