Young Italians flee Italy
The number of young people leaving their country to seek a better future elsewhere is ever increasing as a result of world economic instability and the enormous problems people living in the less fortunate areas of the world have to endure.
Italians migrated to the US, Australia and Europe by the millions over the last century. Back then, my ancestors (my grand father was born in New York) were poor people with little education escaping from misery and oppression under a fascist regime.
Nowadays, young people escape Italy because they feel they stand a better chance of a rewarding career by working abroad. There’s nothing new in this: the only really worrying aspect of all this is the fact that these young talented people would much rather live and work in Italy, and, as a result, feel let down, angry and resentful towards their government for not providing them with the same opportunities which young
people in other developed countries are enjoying.
As it has already been pointed out, this is a very Italian phenomenon which brings the Italian government and, unfortunately, Italy as a nation, into disrepute.
This is not to say that everyone is responsible for what is happening. Young people have learned that leaving the country is not always the best solution to the problem of finding rewarding work. They are now fighting back, accusing the system which has rejected them of being insensitive and unfair towards the legitimate requests of hundreds of young people who would not hesitate to go back to Italy if they were offered a better prospect, or, at least, decent chances of progress, in their own country.
There is no easy solution to the problem. There is no doubt that the present government has failed to address the issue, but the previous centre-left government did not perform much better. As a result, a new government formed by the opposition may not necessarily bring about the changes that we all hope.
Their first priority would be to address the high debt in the balance of payments, one the highest in Europe. Investment in education and research would inevitably lark behind.
However, local governments have recently been given new powers by central government in an effort to save money from the national budget and gradually turn Italy into a federal state.
The issue of young talented Italians leaving their country to look for a better future elsewhere is not new. I left Italy in 1977. I can't really say that I was a young talent, but I was nevertheless a young teacher with little or no prospect in Italy. Here we are, 33 years later, discussing the same issue. One might ask: has anything been done since then to address the issue? Not much. And yet, if we look at local administration level, something seems to have happened.
Not so long ago, while discussing on the issue of young Italians in the other discussion group, I pointed out that our politicians have a duty to take this issue seriously and that our government is clearly failing to do so.
Incentives are the only way to bring back to Italy young Italian talents. Nothing else will work. Voicing our concerns, campaigning against distant or failing governments is an effective way of bringing the issue to the attention of the media and those who have the ability and the responsibility to address this situation.
On this subject, the local authority of Piedmont (Regione Piemonte) have passed a new law thanks to which more than 40 millions euros will be invested in the region to encourage young scientists and researchers to stay and work in Italy, as well as making it more attractive for fellow researchers from other countries to come and work in
Unfortunately, the centre-left administration of Piedmont Regional Council which passed this excellent law have now been replaced by the separatist Northern League group, allies of Berlusconi. It remains to be seen whether they will ratify or abolish this excellent law.
A number of other regional councils (regioni), have introduced similar directives. Surprisingly, even Sicily, one of Italy's poorest region, will invest 41 million euros to bring back to the area young Sicilian talents working abroad. The money will come from the European Social Fund and form local private investors, which will be encouraged to support the scheme by receiving substantial tax cuts in return. Something is happening out there!
The Italian government (Berlusconi's as well as Prodi's) are gradually giving more powers to local governments (giving way to a new federal idea of Italy) to deal with this issue. As a result, many regions - at least those who can afford to -are addressing the issue at local level.
Unfortunately, as a result of the government latest budget, local authorities have been hit hard by cuts, which will inevitably result in many of these sound investment policies being scrapped or postponed.
Having said that, I am a bit tired of hearing that ALL politicians are corrupt and selfish, which is the same as saying that we are wasting our time; that change is not possible and everything will stay the same as nobody can be trusted. This is a negative, unproductive attitude which will not lead anywhere.
We are not doing Italy any favours by constantly criticising our political system, which is already suffering for the way our PM is handling it.
There are honest politicians out there and sound policies that we need to know more about. While young Italians have every right to be angry at the way the Berlusconi government is handling the economic crisis, this incessant campaign aimed at criticising all politicians, regardless of their efforts, is unfair.
Moreover, it fails to identify the real culprits of this situation; it doesn't help to clarify the issue; and it is offensive towards those who are trying to address the issue. There are abundant examples of these positive policies designed to bring back young Italians, which only need to be properly sustained by funds from the EU, private investors and by a more supportive central government.
As we have seen, few people know about these schemes, which indicates that local governments will need to do more to make these known.
Else, they will not go very far!