European elections: From a jobless perspective in #Seville

  • 27 April 2014
  • From the section Europe

In a two week trip, the BBC's Patrick Jackson travels to Spain, France, Italy and Greece visiting Europe's unemployment "black spots" to talk to people about the forthcoming European elections.

First stop, Seville, in the Spanish region of Andalucia where general unemployment reached 36.3% last year and youth unemployment 66.1%.

There, thanks to a generous local couple who lend their house for the occasion, he chairs a Twitter chat and an informal debate with five unemployed Seville residents. Here are the highlights, and to find out more read Patrick's blog on Tumblr.

We were guests of a couple who both have good jobs… but just care about their friends when they're going through hard times, so they lent us their house and their hospitality.

Patrick (above) plays host to a variety of people living in Seville. First to ring the door bell is 52-year-old Jorge (below). He has a fine arts degree and worked for 20 years as a curator before finding himself out of work.

Next up is Andres, who is 32 and from Seville. He is an architect but currently cannot find work.

Alicia, is Jorge's daughter and joins in the debate. She is 19 and will be shortly going to university.

Then along comes 42-year-old Luz. She worked as a shop assistant before she lost her job. Employed for 17 years by a fashion chain, she is not entitled to unemployment benefit because her recent jobs were all traineeships.

And finally Tono, 48, from Galicia, living near Seville, who says he is struggling to make a living.

The debate begins

As everyone gathers round the table Patrick starts tweeting and asks his guests for their opinion.

Andres: Just another government.

Alicia: Right now, it's just the north of Europe and Spain is left out of it.

Jorge: It's a necessary broken dream. Europe used to be a very important factor for the development of Spain but now it looks like our worst enemy.

Luz: As a country, Spain was not ready to join the European club so we could never maximise the benefits of membership.

Tono: They could have corrected our economic activity back then instead of waiting until it was too late.

Matthew Bennett, from Murcia, in Spain, joins in the conversation

Andres: It would be better to ask, how many of our friends are actually working in the real economy.

Alicia: I am working in the black economy, giving English tuition. It's the only way many people can afford private classes for their kids.

Jorge: From time to time, I work as a cultural guide - I don't get a salary out if it, it's just occasional.

Patrick asks a hard question

Tono: As a Galician [conservative part of northern Spain], I can say Andalusia was always very deprived. EU aid was more visible here...

Alicia: People vote Socialist here because we have a very strong sense of community.

Luz: People here vote Socialist out of resignation because the real left gets a bad press.

George Charalampidis, from Greece has a couple of questions of his own.

Luz: Spain should go back to the peseta because it cannot handle a strong currency.

Jorge: We should go back to the idea of a Europe of the peoples instead of Europe as an economic project.

Andres: The currency issue is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn't matter what coin you have, if none is coming into the house.

Bridget Mellor, from England wants to know ...

Jorge: All of us are thinking about it but where would we go?

Tono: We all have relatives who have left. Some are the children of emigrants who had returned to Spain.

Andres: My brother has already gone to England. I spent time in rural Spain helping people to renovate their houses.

Luz: My parents emigrated to Switzerland and my mother regrets coming back to Spain. She thinks we would have had a better future there.

And so the night draws to a close ...

There will be more from Patrick as he continues his trip to Europe's "unemployment hotspots" to find out what the jobless think of the European elections and whether their own situation has put them off politics altogether. Don't forget you too can join in.

Do you live in Spain, France, Italy or Greece? Are you unemployed? Will you be voting in the upcoming elections? If you are willing to speak to the BBC email your views to using the subject title 'EU unemployment'.

Or get in touch using the form below.

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