Are you listening?: According to the United Nations, less than 2% of parliamentarians worldwide are under 30 years old, while half of the world’s population falls into this age category. Considering the current popularity of alternative forms of political participation, how can the EU combat the underrepresentation of its young people in decision-making processes?

Submitted by: Basmala Abdelwahab, Sarrah Aulman, Anna Bachem, Saffan Dollart, Senno Evers, Yara Charlotte den Haan, Fayrouz El Hamus, Nikkie Hollander, Aleksei Kupa, Laurence Verbree,  Natia Ninoshvili (Chairperson, GE)

The European Youth Parliament aims to create a diverse political field where people of all ages are equally represented and their opinions are acknowledged. Reducing ageism and stereotypes in politics to a minimum is crucial. We strive to create a functional education system where everyone receives the knowledge needed to be an active citizen. We also aim to make participation in politics more accessible to youth by inflicting changes in the legal system, as young people deserve agency to determine their future.

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Concerned that young people do not feel drawn to traditional political participation due to:
    1. the lack of presence of people under 30 years of age, aggravated by the average age of European parliamentarians being 50,
    2. the unattractiveness of the political climate,
    3. the stigma surrounding politician’s personal safety,
  2. Keeping in mind the lack of representation of young people’s opinions leading to demotivation regarding participation,
  3. Noting with deep concern the bias the older generation has regarding the youth causing a lack of trust in the ability to participate in political decision-making,
  4. Aware of the fact that the entry requirements for traineeships at the European Parliament, such as minority language and education, are inordinate for people with less financial, geographical or cultural opportunities,
  5. Bearing in mind that the voting age and age to running for candidacy for the European Parliament differ amongst Member States, leading to an unequal representation of the youth from different states,
  6. Reconfirming that governments do not take into account the opinions expressed by the youth in decision-making concerning young citizens,
  7. Alarmed by the lack of knowledge regarding politics and the late education on the subject within schools leading to potentially reduced involvement in traditional politics,
  8. Noting with regret that platforms for political youth participation are not sufficiently promoted or used to their fullest extent;
  1. Calling upon the Directorate-General for Communications to publicly promote more representation of the youth in politics to eliminate mistrust of older politicians; 
  2. Encouraging the legislative bodies of Member States to increase sentences or introduce community service as an additional sentence against threatening politicians in any way shape or form;
  3. Suggesting Member States to adjust the voting age and the age to run for candidacy for the European Parliament to be equal throughout Europe;
  4. Strongly urging politicians to take into account the opinions of the young people by listening to Youth Councils, such as the European Youth Forum, with a minimum of one hearing every three months being dedicated to this purpose;
  5. Further urging the EU to reserve 7% of the European Commission seats for people under 30 with an eventual goal of achieving 15% representation;
  6. Asking the European Commission to provide further financial support for educational programmes associated with political youth participation;
  7. Recommending the EU to make social studies a mandatory subject at schools for at least a year and make it available for those who want to continue studying it;
  8. Advising Member States to provide workshops at schools to teach students about politics in the form of field trips to political institutions, mock elections, and political school activities;
  9. Requesting the Directorate-General for Education and Culture to support the implementation of political education from an earlier age of 12 to familiarise youth with such topics;
  10. Asking the International Institute for Educational Planning to make an optional course for teenage students that can help them prepare for their political careers;
  11. Directs the EU to provide traineeships for high school graduates with a willingness to join the European Parliament;
  12. Instructing that the number of required languages is lowered for the already-existing traineeship for bachelor’s degree graduates.

Fact sheet

Traditional politics: Direct political participation in parliaments, political parties, and (inter)national governments. 

Current entry requirements for the Schuman Traineeship with the European Parliament: The applicants must:

  • Be aged 18 or over, 
  • Be citizens of either an EU member state or an accession/candidate nation, 
  • Hold a university diploma, 
  • Have a strong knowledge of one of the EU’s official languages and excellent knowledge of a second, 
  • Provide an eligible criminal record, 
  • Not have worked for any other type of traineeship in an EU institution for more than two consecutive months, or 
  • Not have completed a study visit to the European Parliament Secretariat six months previous to the start of the traineeship. 

Voting age: A legal minimum age that a person must reach in order to be able to vote in a public election.

Age for running for candidacy: The national law determines the qualifying age to run for office in the European elections. The minimum age required to run for office in the European elections varies significantly, ranging from 18 to 25 years old. 

The European Youth Forum (EYF): A platform for youth-led organisations in Europe which is funded by Erasmus + and the Council of Europe. The goal of the EYF is to represent young people, where they will be treated equally as citizens, and empowered to realise their full potential as global citizens.Social studies: Deals with human behaviour, resources, relationships and institutions. Specific topics include history, geography, sociology, politics, economics and anthropology.