The record-high turnout in the 2019 European elections was a great achievement for European democracy (51%). Yet, Europeans and young people need a stronger role in the decision-making process and a more active role in setting our priorities. The Conference on the Future of Europe will enable us to have a say in what’s important for the EU.
Wait but…what is European Democracy all about?
Most EU legislation is created through a procedure called ‘co-decision’. It was agreed by all EU Member States. In a nutshell…
1.The European Council (think Presidents and Prime Ministers) decide on a general direction for the EU.
2.The European Commission drafts laws based on the decisions of the European Council.
3.The European Parliament (whose members citizens get to elect directly) and the Council of Ministers (Ministers from your national government) make changes to the proposal from the Commission and go back and forward until they agree. The proposal becomes law only when the Parliament and the Council agree.
So yup, the European Union is a pretty big deal and has a lot of power to decide on the things you care about.
Important stuff regarding young people…
As an EU citizen, you have the right to cast your vote in European elections and to stand as a candidate wherever you live in the EU.
EU elections are largely governed by national laws, which can differ. Remember that voting in European Parliament elections is compulsory in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg, meaning that their nationals and registered non-national EU citizens are obliged to vote.
In the same way, the minimum age to be eligible to vote and to stand as a candidate in the European elections is established by national law. While the age to be eligible to vote is 18 years in all Member States, there are some exceptions: Greece, where the voting age is 17, and Austria and Malta, where the voting age is 16.
The minimum age necessary to stand as a candidate in the European elections varies considerably, ranging from 18 to 25 years old.
To involve young people in decision making, the EU has built specific channels. The EU provides numerous young people with opportunities to make their views known on selected policy topics during 18-month policy cycles. Do you want to take part? Have a look at the Youth Portal (Have your say!).
European young people are also involved in shaping EU external policies, together with their counterparts from Africa or the Eastern Partnership.
The European Parliament has also launched its own initiatives. For example, the European Youth Event (EYE) provides young Europeans with the opportunity to share their ideas on the Future of Europe.
Fill out our idea submission survey for a chance to influence the future of Europe.
Come back soon and get your card