Having surveyed trends in the values of Scandinavian youth for more than 10 years, Kairos Future has extended its field of study to the youth of 17 - mostly European - countries. In this article, the authors present the broad conclusions of that study of European youth within the contemporary international context. They stress the fact that the characteristics observed may not perhaps be peculiar to this period of life (the "life-cycle" effect), but could herald longer-term developments in ways of life, consumption patterns or modes of working.
After reviewing general tendencies in the development of values in Europe, the authors present the current dominant trends in young Europeans' life choices. These include greater significance accorded to personal fulfilment, and the increased importance of status, money and celebrity. Specifying the features peculiar to each nation, the authors go on to develop the following themes: the development of the work-life balance, the interest in study and entrepreneurship, the desire to start a family, young people's optimism about their futures, increasing individualism against a background of international concerns (with respect, for example, to the environment), etc.
Lastly, they analyse elements that indicate a common identity among young people at the European, Asian and world levels. Such elements definitely exist, but doubtless not yet to a sufficient degree to speak of the existence of a European, Asian or global youth identity.