23rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Youth and democracy: concrete measures to get young people involved in politics
Strasbourg, 19.10.2012 - Are young people no longer interested in politics? That was the question raised in the “Youth and democracy” debate on 17 October 2012 during the 23rd Session of the Congress. The report presented by Hande Bozatli (Turkey, EPP/CD) – who was representing rapporteur Els Ampe (Belgium, ILDG) – says that, over the past three years, two young people out of 10 up to the age of 30 have not cast a vote in a political election at local, national or European level. This “disenchantment” causes young people to engage in other forms of participation as citizens, either via social networks or at demonstrations.
Among the suggested action, the Congress encourages the setting up of youth councils and parliaments which are both representative and legitimate, as well as of joint management structures which include young people and local and regional elected representatives. In this spirit, Council of Europe member States are invited to include a minimum number of young people in their national delegations to the Congress. Lowering the statutory voting age to 16 is one of the proposals in the recommendation adopted on the same day. The texts adopted emphasise the importance of supporting young people’s education, training and integration into the world of work, and points to the need to ensure implementation of the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, the reference text in this sphere.
“Listening to what young people have to say is vital in order to build more democratic, inclusive and prosperous societies. The policies that we adopt should give them the opportunity today to develop their knowledge, skills and experience”, concluded Hande Bozatli.
Recommendation 327 (2012)
Resolution 346 (2012)
Revised European Charter on the participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life