May 30 - As youth unemployment in Greece soars to 60 per cent, young people are becoming increasingly gloomy about their future prospects. Despite EU leaders promising to take action, Ciara Sutton reports there are fears it will create a generation which only knows temporary and unregulated jobs.
Medical students protest outside Athens University, calling on the government to reverse its policy of austerity. Youth unemployment in the country has shot to a record 64 percent in recent months, and these students are worried. A survey commissioned by the university shows that fifty per cent of young people aged 18-24 fear they will not get a job in the near future. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BOBBY KARAKATSANIS, FIFTH YEAR UNIVERSITY MEDICAL STUDENT, AGED 24, SAYING: "We all try and get work experience from the professors so that we can say we have more experience than others. In general there is a big race going on to secure a position because the positions are very limited." And there's little confidence here in recent promises from European Union leaders that they will take appropriate action to sort the problem. Theodosis Pelegrinis is Rector at the university. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS RECTOR THEODOSIS PELEGRINIS SAYING: "When they get into the university they have hope that things maybe in three years in four years time may change, but the study shows something else: that young people think the situation is not going to change. On the one hand they want to hope and on the other the reality says don't hope." Many Greek students are now learning foreign languages, hoping to get jobs abroad. But with other countries in the EU also battling record unemployment, this could prove tricky. For the lucky ones who do find work, it can often be temporary, and unregulated. Madhur Jha is global economist at HSBC. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL ECONOMIST AT HSBC, MADHUR JHA, SAYING: "You have to have labour market reforms in some of these countries which makes it easier for young people to get jobs, which makes it easier for them to be able to not just get temporary jobs, but also permanent jobs." European Union leaders have vowed to fight the jobless issue that's plaguing the euro zone. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart. With around 1 in 4 young people in the region out of work, the problem is expected to be a central theme at next month's summit of EU leaders.