Youth Rights at Risk from Rise of Extreme-Right and Populists in the European Parliament

June 24, 2014


Press contacts: Sarah Farndale, European Youth Forum, + 32 2286 9436 /


Following the European elections, the European Youth Forum condemns the rise of the extreme-right, as well as that of populist and anti-European parties, who oppose our core beliefs including democracy, respect and diversity.


Although no new extreme right political group was established today, the new European Parliament composition reflects the rise of the far-right and anti-European parties, and that of populism and extremism across Europe. The Youth Forum views this as a threat to fundamental youth rights, such as freedom of movement in order to work or study and the right not to be discriminated against. In the midst of the crisis, Europe cannot afford institutional deadlock nor the threats to fundamental rights that these parties represent.

The European Union has set standards for the upholding of human rights, built on the values of democracy and allowed us to live in peace for decades. In terms of improving the lives of young people, it has promoted key rights that we believe in such as freedom of movement, fighting discrimination and protecting human rights.

Over the past five years, the European Parliament has sought to improve the lives of Europe’s youth. It clearly positioned itself in favour of more European measures to address youth unemployment, in favour of strengthening protection against discrimination and for the removal of obstacles for third-country volunteers to enter to EU. The extreme, anti-EU parties will seek to block such progress and make life harder for millions of young Europeans.

Peter Matjašič, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:

“The difficult times for Europeans – and especially young Europeans – over the last few years are well known: youth unemployment is rife; precarious work and poverty have both increased to alarming levels and it is young people that are hit hardest and for the longest period. However, by blaming Europe for these problems, populist politicians are missing the point. The solutions to these problems can only be found through enhanced collaboration and dialogue, but anti-European parties will only seek to block the solutions and not to find them.

“Therefore, the European Youth Forum calls on all MEPs to remain vigilant in their fight against xenophobia and intolerance during this legislative term, and to continue to stand for the EU’s core values of protection of fundamental rights, freedom of movement, the rule of law and democracy.”


About the European Youth Forum

The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 98 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information,

European Youth Forum AISBL

Rue de l’Industrie 10, 1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 793 75 20
Fax : +32 2 893 25 80

With the support of
The European Commission
The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe