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EYMD 2016: Coming apart at the teens: can Europe solve its political apathy crisis?

Posted on: 21.05.2016

Multiethnic Group of People Meeting with Gear Symbol

Strasbourg, May 20, EYMD 2016

(Fruzsina Katona and Grzesiek Szymanowski reporting from the European Parliament in Strasbourg)

Perhaps the greatest political challenge young Europeans, indeed young people everywhere, are facing is the growing sense of apathy. When faced with economic uncertainty and when looking at parliamentarians who are older – and not necessarily wiser – the feeling of malaise can be hard to escape. When engaging the attendees at 2016’s European Youth Event (EYE), the radio team found that the sense of apathy was undeniable.

“The decision-making process is usually very complicated,” said Daniel, a German delegate visiting the parliament for EYE. Despite being politically engaged himself, he added: “You’re talking about subjects that not everyone is aware of. Or that people do not have the knowledge to participate. Or the time, because you have different priorities. And you want to engage those people and it’s very difficult.”

His voice was one of many in a chorus of concern, representative of many of the young participants in Strasbourg. How then can the elected officials strive to better engage a generation of young people losing respect in the democratic process? To answer this question, the team investigated the movement to lower the voting age in Estonian local elections to 16, posing questions about this works and what implications it has had for Estonia’s youth.

© European Youth Media Days 2016 (EYMD 2016)