Originally published 06/03/2013
Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and author of “Civilization: The West and the Rest.” Pierpaolo Barbieri is Ernest May Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. His book, “Hitler’s Shadow Empire: The Nazis and the Spanish Civil War” will be published this fall. EUROPEAN leaders have declared war on youth unemployment. At a meeting we attended in Paris last week organized by the Berggruen Institute on Governance, President François Hollande of France called on his fellow E.U. leaders to “act urgently” to address the problem. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, warned of an impending “catastrophe” that risks losing “the battle for European unity.” Italy’s labor minister, Enrico Giovannini, added, “We have to rescue an entire generation of young people.” Only a few days ago, his boss, the newish Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, declared he wanted to make the European summit that begins on June 28 about “the fight” against youth unemployment.