EU Elections 2024: Youth vote matters!

Written by Joana Qyli

Reading time 5 minutes   

EU towards the elections 2024

The European Parliament is the legislative body of the European Union. It plays an important role in policymaking by developing legislation and regulations that affect our lives as EU citizens. The European Parliament elections are held every 5 years and stand as one of the biggest democratic votes in the world.

The representatives once elected become members of a political party in the parliament closer to their beliefs and make decisions regarding the economy, education, environment and all matters concerning our lives. While voting is a fundamental right in a democratic society, a need for more young people to be involved is crucial. In this article, we explore why young individuals should exercise their voting rights and be active during the democratic process.

Concerns and need for action

For many European citizens, the EU and the European Parliament appear abstract and distant from their national governments, creating an absence of will to participate in the electoral processes. The young generations have established a space of participation in the political process through informal political and social activity, such as activism, demonstrations, and petitions on a micro level in their community, making voting seem outdated.

Academics and policymakers raise concerns about the disconnection between traditional electoral politics and the citizens in Europe. The turnout of citizens involved in the political processes is decreasing, with the European Union trying to make young people active during the elections. The “democratic deficit” among youngsters has developed in the recent 2 decades, with the European Parliament having lower percentages of participation in comparison with the national ones.

The “apolitical” profile shows a culture of passive acceptance of the existing political system. People feel that voting does not allow them to participate, making them absent from the process. However, being present in the fundamental democratic processes is a step closer to inclusive and representative European authority which affects everyone’s lives. To address these concerns youth empowerment and proactive measures are imperative.

Youth empowerment

Working on closing the gap between the EU and the youth public, the EU proposed new legislation on lowering the voting age. May 2022 has been a significant month for the European Parliament, as a historic decision has been made to lower the voting age to 16 for all European member states allowing although exceptions for existing constitutional orders with the proposed age of 17 and 18. This choice proves that young people have the right to be part of and shape their future.

Allowing 16-year-olds to vote, opens the road for citizens who from a young age understand the importance of active engagement in civic affairs. Being active and showing responsibility during elections has always been vital for the democratic processes, the question that arises here is why does it matter in particular for young people?

  1. Impact on policymaking: The European Parliament makes decisions that affect our lives. Whether we are talking about new legislation, or funding education, environment, and employment opportunities, the European Parliament has a word to the decision, in collaboration with the rest of EU Institutions.
  2. Next-generation empowerment: Many studies have shown that young people are not disinterested or politically absent, but rather not well informed and “disempowered” due to the lack of trust in political elites and traditional institutional processes. Empowering the diverse voices and promoting a new agenda which enlists ways for youth political participation, will give the next generation the trust that young people need for their presence to the ballot box. For instance, social media as a tool can be used as an open space for political engagement, promoting more diverse ideas and highlighting the importance of elections.
  3. Fostering Inclusion and Diversity: Young people and their political power in Europe appear to be declining, leaving the next generation to engage and participate in governance. Voting for the parliament gives us the power to select the people who are closer to our beliefs, and better represent our voice. The concept of equity comes to light as the European Parliament is the only body in the EU that is directly elected by the populace. Thus, increasing the number of individuals and groups that vote in elections is one of the best ways to enhance equity.

Although the benefits are numerous, we should keep in mind the challenges that young people are facing today. The variety of offered information, the sources and social media provide misinformation and make the youngers more skeptical about the impact of their vote. Educating young people on the necessity of participation in politics is essential. While there are several forms of political engagement, it should be clear that elections are the primary way for individuals to influence political and policymaking procedures.

Time for action!

After sharing some thoughts about the importance of voting, it is highlighted once more the need for action and participation. Between 6–9 June 2024, it is the time for everyone to be present for their future. By voting in EU elections, we not only stand for Democracy, but we give a clear message about our preferences and the people we want to be our future lawmakers and tackle the issues we are all concerned about. Under EU law, all member states should ensure proportional representation, so if you are ready to shape the future of Europe, vote in your country or in any European country you are living in.  Learn more about the process by visiting the official EU election site: and “Happy election day”!

“My name is Joana Qyli, and I consider myself a lifelong learner who is constantly seeking new skills, languages, and cultural knowledge. My educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Leiden University in the Netherlands. My academic path has provided opportunities for me to broaden and enhance my skills. In my professional life, I worked as an Administrative Assistant at the Consulate General of Albania in Thessaloniki and a Research Assistant at Leiden University. These positions have given me invaluable insights into government operations and academic research practices. Finally, as a member of COSE, I have the opportunity to discuss topics that interest me, such as International Relations, EU policies, Peace and Security, always with responsibility towards our readers.”



Why you should vote in the European elections in 2024 (

Resources and Downloads (