A new narrative for EU elections and beyond: how to engage youth

Period of implementation: September 2018 – October 2019

Falling voter turnout is a common trend and young voters abstain more than the general population in all European democracies. The democratic deficit and low electoral turnout is not faced by specific countries, but it is a phenomenon happening at EU level. The gap between the democratic institutions in Europe, their representatives and Europe’s young generation is growing. Although young people are more likely to be present in other forms of political participation (protests, strikes, joining pressure groups, etc), their overall election turnout is dramatically falling. In 2014 only 28% of under 25 were voting, compared to the general election turn-out rate which was 42.6 %.

This overall trend is double also by another worrying phenomenon: disinformation, fake news and trolling are most visible during the electoral campaigns, in an attempt to hamper with EU elections, undermine pro European values, and promote nationalistic and xenophobic messages.

In addition, ease of access to relevant and adequate information on the elections is not only a country specific problem, but it happens widely in the EU. This scenario is damaging for the EU 2019 elections that may record another all time low voter turnout.

The project ”A new narrative for Europe – a more engaging one” aims to raise awareness and know how among youth on the importance of EU 2019 elections and empowering youths and youth workers with the needed tools to gain momentum and influence over EU’s direction through interactive and user friendly methods.

The main objectives of the project are:

i) Elaborating and designing an interactive and user friendly platform that will allow user friendly interaction with youths and promote critical thinking and argumentative speeches (organizing interactive quiz competitions and e-debate competitions);
ii) Organizing a 6 days Learning Activity in Brussels for youths and youth workers with specifically designed training modules and first hand experiences with representatives of the EU institutions;
iii) Elaborating a guideline on lessons’ learnt on how to empower youth on the importance of EU elections and combating online disinformation campaigns (How to engage? Why? Which way? What methods?) based on the findings during the project that will be disseminated at EU level;

The project targets youths, students, youth workers from Romania and Greece, with an interest in EU affairs/ EU elections that can further create a snowball effect and replicate the activities of the project in their organizations (through specific trainings on EU elections, debate Competitions, EU Narratives and Counter Narratives).

The project is financed by the European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices