Text by Nadim Baker. Photo by Rosalinda Whybrow.
“A highly qualified generation of young people moves to Brussels every year to work. They are given extremely low salaries, if any, in exchange for their knowledge. This is a scandal and a huge mistake made by the current ruling class imposing these conditions on us. If you don’t invest in young people, you don’t invest in the future.“
Edoardo Caroli from Italy is a Blue Book trainee at the European Commission. As of March 2018, he works in the Cabinet of Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on issues about migration, home affairs and citizenship. He previously studied international relations in Bologna and political science in Brussels.
“Since the Italian election in March, it became obvious that we have a problem. I’m about to turn 25 and I’ve already had the opportunity to vote twice for national elections. But looking at the Italian politicians, I don’t see anyone fully representing me or others of our generation. By ‘us’ I’m not only talking about people of a certain age, but also about those who have always been fighting for progress and the environment, for gender equality, for an inclusive society and for accessible education.
I believe that we need competent politicians today more urgently than ever. Italy is ruled by a generation that has never been on an Erasmus exchange. Most of them can hardly speak a second language and have never worked abroad. As a consequence, we have a long-established group of leaders who decide where our country is heading while others miss their chance to shape the future. Personally, I would rather spend all my time speaking to a 15 or 16-year-old person instead of an old person. By doing that, you invest in the future, in the knowledge and education of somebody who is going to work to improve your country.”
As a student in Italy, Edoardo was always drawn by the magnetic allure and international atmosphere of Brussels. He moved to Belgium for his master studies and became involved with Young European Leadership, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to empower future decision makers from Europe. Furthermore, he founded a pressure group called Uphold Europe with the aim of finding a sustainable solution to the migration management crisis currently affecting the EU.
“Organizing and attending international youth conferences has shaped my political attitude a lot. It enabled me to exchange my knowledge and views with numerous young people coming from across Europe. Like many of them, I know what it means to come to Brussels to work while only being paid € 600. It is a serious problem and we have to change that. This is why I think that now is the time for me to go back to Italy, and try to put this group of young people together in order to really move things. It is needed and everyone can see that.”