Second anniversary of covid-19 in Europe: the understanding of a new reality towards a more promising post-pandemic future.

The covid was, and still is, a storm that has thrown us into a different world, much more precarious and uncertain than the one we knew; work, home, and sometimes even affections have become more unstable. An example? In Italy, since the advent of the pandemic, requests for separations have risen by 60 per cent, with 40 per cent due to infidelity and 30 per cent due to family violence (ANSA, 2021).

Today, after two years, we are finally breathing again and taking back our freedoms. This was possible thanks to the lockdown, to the use of masks and, above all, as confirmed by the data, to a strong vaccination campaign, in which 72.9% of the entire European population took part (with full vaccination).

But what lessons can we draw today from these two years of pandemic? With the awareness that we cannot fully analise this topic, we will proceed by examining the most critical and important points.

1) Awareness of fake news.
The pandemic has brought to the surface the negative and ‘evil’ side of the information. Today, anyone can disseminate information on the web and, unfortunately, there are those who spread fake news in order to make big money, leveraging feelings of anger, fear and frustration. The profits are many! We are talking about 1.1 billion dollars a year (Center for countering digital hate, 2022). This has caused the authorities and the ‘masters’ of social networks, which are one of the main channels of information today, to start mobilising to set up systems to check the veracity of the sources and information shared, which is very complex and almost impossible to achieve. The road is far, but the first steps have been taken and, above all, we have finally become aware of the magnitude of this problem.

2) The importance of feeling like a community.
History – from the wars of the classical era to the resistance to Nazi-fascism in the 1940s – has taught us that a common enemy makes peoples stick together like nothing else. The common enemy we are facing has already shown that the borders or ports don’t matter. This has taught us to feel like a community again, to feel like one big family.

3) The power of telematic tools.
Because of the need for distancing, we had to become more and more familiar with telematic tools, such as video calls, long-distance learning, e-learning and smartworking. These tools have brought to light the need for digitalisation for certain categories of people – especially the older population strata where the level of digital literacy is lower – but also for some countries that are still lagging behind from this point of view. One perfect example is the beautiful Italy, where, because of the pandemic, the depth of the digital divide weighing on the country both technologically and economically, as well as culturally, has been highlighted and for which various interventions have been organised to solve the problem. Moreover, these tools have turned from a necessity into an opportunity. This is evident for young people who are disadvantaged due to poor economic or other conditions, who have been able to enroll in distant universities and follow e-learning lessons that they would not normally have been able to access.

4) The importance of investing in young people.
Young people are among the groups that have been affected the most by the covid effects, especially for the employment and entry into the job market. Due to the pandemic, the number of NEETs has significantly increased in Europe. As highlighted in the quarterly employment report published by the EU executive, the number of young people aged between 15 and 24 who are neither working nor studying reached 20.7% in the second quarter of 2020, in Italy (occupying the first position), followed by Bulgaria (15.2%) and Spain (15.1%). While in the whole EU the NEET rate increased to 11.6%. Looking again at Italy, the data concerning the region Sicily, which has the highest NEET rate in Europe, i.e. over 30%, is highly worrying. This problem has always been present, but it has been heightened by the pandemic, that has highlighted worrying data on which it has been decided to take strong action through the reinforcement of programmes for NEETs. As proof of the commitment to young people, the EU Commission has declared 2022 the European Year of Youth. Europe needs the vision, commitment, and participation of all young people to build a better future, a future that is greener, more digital and more inclusive.

A.T.I.S team


“Vaccini nel mondo”, Il Sole24ore, 2022;
ANSA report on marriages and separations, 2021;
Research by the “Center for countering digital hate”, 2022;
Paolo Zuddas, “Covid-19 e digital divide: tecnologie digitali e diritti sociali alla prova dell’emergenza sanitaria”, AIC- ASSOCIAZIONE ITALIANA DEI COSTITUZIONALISTI, 2020;
Eurostat “Rapporto trimestrale sull’occupazione”, 2021;
Press corner Eu, “Commission kick-starts work to make 2022 the European Year of Youth”,2021.


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