The young are the future! Or so the world believes. Few tropes are used as regularly in democratic politics as references to the young who will determine – and hopefully save – the world of the future, by coming up with new ideas and visions. This hope is particularly present within the European Union, because the EU has a vision problem. In the early decades of the European project, its architects successfully linked their ideal of a unified Europe to initiatives that had a substantive real-life impact on citizens’ lives, such as borderless travel and a common currency. Through this combination of lofty ambition and real-world projects, they secured support from both idealists and pragmatists. But the system no longer functions as it once did. These practical projects have become a reality – along with several of their unforeseen negative consequences – and the European vision no longer shines as bright.
In his Strasbourg speech on 17 April, French President Emmanuel Macron launched a drive to seek [...]