Young people appear to be the social group most affected by the lingering economic crisis of the EU. Around a quarter of them is unemployed. As expected, the situation is the most dramatic in the countries on the European periphery: In Spain 57 per cent of the population below 30 is unable to find a job, according to the most recent Eurostat figures. The worrying list also includes Greece with 58 per cent and Croatia, the Union’s newest member state, with 52 per cent. …

Other European countries, particularly the economically strong states like Germany and France, are increasingly losing their appeal for migrants like Irene. Studies have shown that Latin America is slowly becoming as popular as European countries. “Many of my friends have already left Spain,” Irene explains, “I now have friends in Chile, Mexico, the United States, France – everywhere.” …

Erasmus is what allows many young Spaniards to go abroad in the first place; often, it is their first meaningful stay abroad. Many students remain in their host countries or quickly return there. Not only because continuing their studies back home is difficult in the absence of government scholarships, but also because other countries frequently offer better job chances than Spain. Other countries’ job markets might be crowded by native graduates, but even a low-paid job is often favorable to what is being offered back home.