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There are as many Martins in the European Parliament as MEPs under 30

15/09/2022

The new analysis released on International Day of Democracy finds that the number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) younger than 30 is equal to the number of parliamentarians named Martin - six each. The youngest political group in the Parliament is the Greens/European Free Alliance, whose average MEP is 48 years old, closely followed by Renew Europe, with an average age of 50.

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Rafael
Rafael Shilhav

According to the European Youth Forum, which compiled publicly available data, young people are the most under-represented age group in the European Parliament. While one in five Europeans is between the ages of 18 and 35, just one in fifteen (6 percent) of MEPs are in the same age group. In contrast, one in five Europeans is between the ages of 51 and 65, but the number of parliamentarians representing the age group in the European Parliament is double, at 42 percent.

The European Youth Forum warns that age gaps between voters and politicians can have significant consequences on political participation. Frédéric Piccavet, Vice President of the European Youth Forum said:

“You don’t have to be young to support youth issues. But if young people don’t feel like they are represented in parliaments, they are less likely to engage and vote. Political parties need to promote young candidates from diverse backgrounds and genders ahead of the 2024 European elections, in order to appeal to younger voters.”

A recent global survey by the UN Youth Envoy and the high street retailer The Body Shop confirms the concern regarding the legitimacy of democratic institutions. According to its findings, more than 50 percent of people think that the age balance in politics is skewed, and more than two-thirds of people believe that political systems would be better if young people had more opportunities to have a say. The global organisation of national parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, recommends a target of 15 percent of MEPs under 30, with a 50-50 gender parity.

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