When young people are asked what they think are the best ways to take part in public life, the most popular answer is voting in European elections. Yet, worryingly, less than half of the young people eligible to vote in the 2014 European elections actually did so. How would you explain the low turnout? What would encourage more young people to feel involved enough to vote?


Puede que los más jóvenes crean que solo pueden participar de la UE votando. ¿Y si damos la posibilidad de que programen, realicen, organicen,... alguna actividad ello/as mismo/as?, que tengan una porción de presupuesto y sean ellos/as los que decidan.
According to previous comments, I guess that to encourage young people in participating in public life it is necessary, at first, to inform them about what EU is doing for them. Information is, in my opinion, the basis from starting. How? Through the use of social media, the work of Youth Information Offices and the press. It needs to inform young people about EU policies and the opportunities that EU offers them in terms of study, work, volunteer in Europe. Beside this, there is the necessity to introduce a teaching in all secondary shools about the history and the functioning of EU in order to create a general knowledge.
I think the best way to promote vote to the young people is to educate them and inform more about the European values, symbols and history. At the same time it is very important to let them understand what the EU is doing for them. The best way would be to use the universities and the public libraries as centres of discussion, information and political debate.
I guess that the main reason is that very few young people know about the EU procedures and how it works. European elections are not very well featured in Member States. People think that it's useless to vote for something that they don't really know and their vote is not going to make any difference anyway as they think. The problem is always the same: there's a need to reach out more European citizens, make them feel like the EU is "sexy" and not something old and boring. Promote what the EU is doing for them, what affects them directly in their daily lives !
A report from 2013 by the European Commission shows that young people (25-29) with an independent source of income are almost 20% more likely to vote than youngsters that are unemployed or are received unemployment benefits. On the other hand, the report shows that youngsters with higher educational achievement are more likely to vote, while at the same time those with lower educational achievement have socially disadvantaged backgrounds. This shows how important it is to reduce poverty in order to increase civic and political engagement of youth. On the other hand, two general obstacles to political participation, that I can feel myself and that I can see my peers face, is the stigmatisation of politics as "a dirty game" and the difficulty in understanding how the current system works and that everyone is equally entitled to be a polit-ician. The way parties work, for example, only makes it very hard for any young person to join and to make a difference. Many times a rigid hierarchy is at work in these organisations and a party-member is nothing more than a supporter of a self-perpetuating elite. The partidary system is not working in favour of democracy and social inclusion as it ideally should.