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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 can 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.

Related news and publications

Safeguarding Civic Space for Young People in Europe

Publication - 04/05/2022
By speaking out, gathering together online and offline, and by participating in public decision-making, individuals and communities use...

Launch of the European Charter for Youth and Democracy

News - 07/03/2022

The European Committee of the Regions and the European Youth Forum join forces to bring young people closer to the EU!


Young people call for international solidarity with Ukraine in response to Russian aggression

Statement - 24/02/2022

We are horrified by Russia's act of aggression and the impact it will have on Ukraine’s youth as well as the population at large - their security, their hopes, their lives.