In today’s fast-paced world, young people are taking an active interest in democratic processes in Europe and are becoming more politically engaged. As the future leaders of the continent, it is essential that they have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.
However, despite the increasing involvement of young people in politics, their participation is still limited in many countries. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including a lack of political interest, a lack of political education, and a lack of trust in the political system.
One of the biggest challenges facing young people in Europe is the low voting turnout among this demographic. According to Eurostat, in 2019, only 43% of young people aged 18-24 voted in the European Parliament elections, compared to 63% of those aged 25-74. This is a concerning trend, as young people are the future of Europe and their voices need to be heard.
There are, however, several initiatives being taken to increase youth participation in the democratic process. One such initiative is the ‘European Youth Portal’, which provides young people with information on the European Union and its institutions, as well as providing them with the opportunity to participate in various activities and events.
In addition, many countries have introduced voting age reforms, reducing the minimum age at which young people can vote. This has had a positive impact, as it has given young people a greater say in the democratic process.
Another challenge facing young people is the lack of political education in schools. Many young people do not understand the political process or the impact that their vote can have. By introducing political education in schools, young people can become more informed and engaged in the democratic process.
In conclusion, youth participation in the democratic process is vital for the future of Europe. By addressing the challenges facing young people, such as low voting turnout and a lack of political education, Europe can ensure that the voices of its future leaders are heard.
The first newsletter of Trikala’s Youth Council is out! The document is published on Green language.
You can read it here.
Let’s wrap up tis great year with something new! We manage to gather all data and insights from all partners behind the implementation of the 8 initiatives in partner countries in order to make one video and celebrate our success.
Our second video is here and we are so proud to present you our achievements that we made it so far with our partners from Italy, Norway, Greece, France, N. Macedonia and Cyprus
Check the video to find out more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_qxfOZJGGQ
Glocal Factory Agder fylkeskommune PORAKA NOVA Associazione Foris e-Trikala HUB Nicosia Pistes Solidaires
In school, learning goes beyond absorbing information. Developing a particular attitude and promoting certain values are also important. These values allow citizens to be more active and feel a sense of responsibility for their communities, their country and the European Union. To transmit this sense of community is a shared political responsibility at all levels of government. Despite this, citizenship education in the EU remains fragmented, with each member state adopting its own approach.
A study conducted by the French Ministry of Education in 2020 found that citizenship lessons are compulsory in 16 of the 27 EU countries, but with varying amounts of instruction time.
According to the study, pupils in Cyprus receive 20 hours of citizenship education, 150 hours in Belgian-speaking countries, and 310 hours in France at the end of secondary education.
Furthermore, only one in two students reported learning about Europe in school in 2016. Based on these data, we can say that civic education is incredibly important for young people’s and can stimulate their engagement in politics, both electorally and otherwise.
Active citizenship and European values are promoted by teachers as role models.
Educational institutions need to ensure that this important attitude is part of the comprehensive education that European pupils receive and that it starts from the earliest stages of education.
Meanwhile, experts stress the importance of separating European values from pro-European positions. Of course, there is a difference between being pro-European, in the sense of pro-EU, and sharing some basic values such as democracy, tolerance. By adding that elements it would be counterproductive to do civic education by trying to encourage students to “say they are European.” For sure you don’t need to have a teacher, for the students guiding who has a glorious view of certain institutions or processes, but they should share certain kinds of values that are probably also values enshrined in the constitutions of their countries.
As part of our NEUEYT project, young people of the MFR of MONT – a school-like institution for young people in school dropout-like situation – and members of the board of directors debated deeply…….. but in silence!
Strangely enough, everyone had the floor, and their say, on a subject selected by the young people and which particularly affects them.
How does it work?
Take an issue, put it in the middle of the table and let each participant think about it (what are we doing for the planet, we waste too much food, discrimination is a daily occurrence…). Everyone is invited to write (in silence) their opinion, their idea, their questioning… to give free rein to their opinions in the box dedicated to them.
The silence continues…. It seems sometimes long, it isn’t… the pens are talking!
The operation is repeated until the participants find their starting square.
Opinions are exchanged according to the ideas and opinions of the others, and the debate of ideas takes place on paper.
When all the people have spoken, the exchanges are read out loud, to share the debate with everyone.
The transition from writing to speaking makes the young peoplerealize quite quickly that they have so many things to say! And show the stakeholders that when they let the floor to young people, they avec much to say!
In this type of debate, the participants feel free, even if it is difficult to start.
They all said that they could really give their point of view, and they felt involved in the debate.
The presence of political decision-makers in the debate did not limit the young people in their expression, as the space for (silent) dialogue is preserved.
The ideas of all the participants were respected, as the transition to writing obliges them to take time to reflect and formulate. The young people understood the place they could/should have in the civic debate. Participation is underway!
The debates continued and proposals for action emerged!