If you are young in Europe today, I imagine that the future can seem uncertain. You may have a short-term contract at work. You may feel that you have no real prospect of joining the housing market.
And I bet you feel frustrated at the seeming lack of action by European politicians on major issues, like combatting climate change, fighting tax havens and ensuring fair and proper working conditions. All issues that impact heavily on your future.
So, come, 2019 and another European election. Why should you care? Well, to me at least, being part of the EU means basically two things:
1) that we share a set of fundamental values, and
2) that we face a host of common challenges together.
But how we translate those values into actual policies and what solutions we decide upon are not a given. They are a political decision, made by a majority.
In the last European elections, young people as a demographic had a low turnout. However, when asked, a majority had a favourable opinion of the EU. The opposite was, broadly speaking, true of those above the age of 55, a pattern repeated in the Brexit-vote. So, make sure important decisions aren’t taken without making your voice and your vote count!
Obviously, the ballot box is not the only way to gain influence in a democracy. You can engage in grassroots movements; debate your friends and family; write your local MEP a letter – you name it! But the fact remains that power is in numbers. Elected officials represent their constituency and, all being said, vote accordingly.
I think this shows quite clearly both in the composition and the voting patterns of the current European Parliament. The young people of Europe deserve and need a stronger voice!
If you’re a young person living in the EU today, it is crucial that you make your voice heard at the next election. At the same time, I’m sure that we, the elected members of the European Parliament, aren’t without our faults and blind spots.
So, let’s use the power of this platform to pinpoint the issues and the solutions, that should be at the centre of European politics, but aren’t at the moment. Let’s show exactly what a progressive majority can achieve for Europe.
If you feel there’s a topic we aren’t addressing properly, by all means, let us know! And let’s work together, to make sure, that we as a political family can make your voice heard in the 2019 European elections!