No friends, no parties, home schooling: the living situation for young people in Europe has deteriorated significantly as a result of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the majority of the under 26-year-olds from seven EU countries, including Germany, are optimistic about the future.

This is shown by the results of the youth study “Young Europe” by the TUI Foundation presented in Berlin on Wednesday.

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    More than half of the respondents stated that their living situation had worsened. Four in ten young people between the ages of 16 and 26 lost their jobs or suffered financial losses during the pandemic. In Germany, 29 percent said they had been affected by short-time work or unemployment, in Greece even 58 percent.

    Almost every second person describes their current emotional state as “tired”, “insecure”, “annoyed” or “stressed”.

    The respondents feel heavily burdened in all areas of life and fear that this will remain the case for the time being.

    72 percent of young Europeans find the restrictions in public and social life most difficult, such as reduced contact opportunities with friends and family or closed shops and sports clubs.

    Nevertheless, almost two thirds of all those questioned are optimistic about the future.

    Young Europeans follow corona rules

    During the pandemic, the young adults said they mostly behaved in accordance with the rules: just under a fifth said they ignored legal measures and recommendations. Spaniards and Italians adhere to the guidelines most strictly. In Germany, it can also be seen that more than half of the respondents considered the corona measures in April, when the number of infections rose again, to be inadequate. The majority of the European Union's pandemic management receives a mediocre certificate. Almost a third of young Europeans rate it as “bad” and only 16 percent as “good”.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) does better with the respondents.

    42 percent of those questioned described Merkel's policy as “rather good or very good”.

    Only the young Greeks were less satisfied with her.

    There, only 23 percent rated their 16-year term as positive.

    Climate protection the most pressing problem for politics

    For the first time since the TUI Foundation's youth study was launched in 2017, health policy is one of the more pressing problems facing the EU - this is the view of 28 percent of those surveyed in the seven European countries.

    However, environmental and climate protection tops this list (41 percent), ahead of economic and financial policy (32 percent) and migration and asylum (31 percent).

    Overall, a third of all respondents are interested in politics.

    For the youth study, the polling institute YouGov interviewed 6253 people between 16 and 26 years in Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Poland in April. In Germany there were 1004. The study has been carried out annually since 2017.