My Europe, My Say! is a European project, implemented by a consortium led by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement- Bureau Européen du Scoutisme. The consortium includes AEGEE-Europe (Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe) and 48 independent youth organisations members of these two networks across Europe.
It aims at fostering youth political participation in the upcoming European Elections in May 2019 and reinforcing a sense of civic engagement among young people.
- Strengthen the capacities of youth organisations to offer activities which enhance youth participation, civic competences and political awareness and to increase outreach to more vulnerable and socio-economic disadvantaged young people. This will help more young people to benefit from the learning outcomes of the project beyond those directly reached and mobile.
- Offer young people the opportunity to reflect upon their European identity and values – in the framework of the new narrative for Europe. This would respond to the need of capitalising on the already-existing positive attitude toward the EU among young people as well as consolidating such an attitude across different established youth networks across Europe.
- Engage youth organisations into a pan European campaign around Youth Participation to elections- especially in the framework of the European Elections in May 2019. This will help building a common understanding of an EU citizenship, offer young people an opportunity to lead the campaign while mobilising their peers around a common goal. It will also contribute to better connect youth organisations around one shared goal.
- Provide young people with relevant information on how to register to vote while living in another EU Country. This will fill in the shortage of reliable and easily-accessible sources of information. The format of these sources will also be youth-friendly and appealing, responding at the same time to the needs of mobile youth, especially those taking part in exchange programmes during the elections period.
- Create spaces of dialogue with decision makers in the framework of the European Elections and beyond. This goal will help reconnect young people to decision-makers while utilising innovative and interactive communication methods such as online forums and webinars.
- Youth conventions on the EU youth agenda
- Large scale youth exchanges
- Project hubs
- Capacity building for youth
- The Academy
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Data from the last European elections exposes an acute paradox regarding young people’s political behaviour. On the one hand, turnout among young voters (18-24) was low. Only 28% of eligible individuals in the age group 18-24 registered to vote. The overall turnout percentages recorded in the 2009 elections, were very similar, which shows that the situation remains unchanged and that youth direct participation in the European democracy is not the best it could be. More worryingly, the gap between the turnout of the older electorate (55+) and the young one is increasingly widening, as over half of the former (51%) cast their ballots in 2014, according to the Eurobarometer survey of October 2014.
On the other hand, and here comes the paradox, younger generations have a stronger feeling of being European than older generations, according to a survey that was conducted by TNS Opinion, with 27 331 people aged 18 and over in the 28 EU Member States. In fact, 70% for the 18-24-year-olds felt a strong attachment to an EU identity, compared to 59% for the 55+ group. If anything, this proves that young people’s positive attitudes towards the EU, is not necessarily correlated with their level of democratic participation. This trend has been lately very rewarding to political parties who are generally more critical of EU integration. Moreover, research that strived to decipher the reasons behind this paradox, concluded that it is unfair to portray European youth as politically apathetic and disinterested, but they are in research of other spaces to participate. Youth Organisations have a role to play to ensure that these aspirations of participation are carried out.
The partners organisations of My Europe, My Say! are all affiliated to AEGEE and to Scouting, are non-formal independent educational youth-led organisations aiming at developing young people’s civic capacities to help build a better world where they play a constructive role in society. For both networks of organisations, youth participation is a key priority