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Representative democracy

Despite young people making up around 25 percent of Europe’s population, very few of our politicians and decision-makers are under 30 years old.

Young people often feel excluded from politics and decision-making processes. In recent years, they are also less likely to become a member of a political party or participate in other traditional ways.

However, this gap between traditional forms of democracy and young people is not inevitable! The European Youth Forum advocates for change in how we think about our democracies, to make them much more inclusive and representative for young generations.

What needs to happen?

  • All governments should lower the voting age to 16 in all elections. Moreover, the age limits for the right to vote and the right to stand for election must be aligned in all public elections.

  • Governments must take active measures to raise the number of young people voting and running in elections in partnership with youth organisations.

  • Political parties must do more to ensure that youth interests are represented in the party and that young people feel welcome to participate.

Our must read!

The Charter on Youth and Democracy puts forward concrete recommendations relating to the democratic participation of young people at three levels of governance: the local and regional level; the national level; and the European level. The Charter was co-created in a bottom-up process with representatives from youth organisations and young elected local and regional representatives across the EU.

The Presidents of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Youth Forum endorsed the Charter at the CoR plenary on 1 December 2022 in presence of representatives of European Institutions and other key stakeholders.

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