Estonia, Austria: Vote@16
Last week, as Austria was celebrating 10 years of vote@16, 16 and 17-year-olds in Estonia had a chance to cast a ballot for the first time in a local election! To mark this occasion the European Youth Forum and the Estonian National Youth Council ( ENL) organised a two-day event to provide a space for young people to discuss vote@16
On 12th of October, Youth Forum Board Member Kristen Aigro took part in a debate on citizenship education and the role of youth organisations at the Museum of Occupations in Tallinn.During the debate, the participants highlighted the importance of citizenship education in the democratic process. Moreover they brainstormed on how to create links between formal and non-formal education.
On 13th of October, Ms Mailis Reps, Minister for Education and Research of Estonia, Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum and Ivo Visak, ENL Chairman opened the conference “YouthUp Politics: Vote@16 and Rebooting Democracy”. Ms Mailis Reps emphasised the important role ENL played in putting “vote@16 on the agenda and making it possible.
Representatives from National Youth Councils of Malta, Ireland, Moldova, Belgium, Slovenia and Sweden as well as the European Youth Forum put their thoughts together to find ideas on how to #YouthUp Europe and ensure that young people across the continent can access their right to vote at 16. The participants worked in small groups try to see how common obstacles to introduce vote@16 could be overcome to make it a reality for everyone.
This conference was also an opportunity for first-time 16-year-old voters to share their views on vote@16 and what it means for them to have the right to vote.
16 and 17 year-olds should be able to raise issues that are affecting them! The fight continues to make their voices heard.