EU officials are rallying young voter turnout in the hopes of countering a potential surge of Europe's "populist" movements. (Photo by Sercan Ozkurnazli/ dia images via Getty Images)

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EU officials push youngsters to counter ‘populist’ surge


EU officials are rallying young voter turnout in the hopes of countering a potential surge of Europe’s “populist” movements.

In an attempt to galvanize election involvement, Brussels has kicked off the European Youth Week with a spotlight on democracy and the European elections, strategically timed just two months ahead of the 2024 European elections.

Addressing a gathering of over 800 young attendees at Parliament on April 12, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas emphasised the role of the young in shaping policies.

“This European Youth Week happens every two years but this time it’s different. It is taking place right before the 2024 elections,” Metsola told the event.

“The MEPs will decide on future questions based on your values and on your vote.”

“Look around you, make friends, this is what Europe is all about and vote,” she said.

Metsola went on to warn that “despite how far we have come to build a prosperous Europe”, there remained unnamed individuals “who are trying to undermine it”.

“Let’s keep building rather than allowing easy cynicism to destroy,” she said.

The message was echoed by Schinas, who warned of a potential surge in populist sentiment, adding that the EU was now relying on them to turn out in numbers in June to ensure such a possibility never comes to pass.

“With the rise of populist movements, growing polarisation and toxicity in public debate, this engagement is important,” he said, warning a low turnout could play into the hands of anti-EU politicians.

The 2019 European Elections witnessed a surge in voter participation alongside a rise in support for Green parties in the European Parliament.

According to the European Consortium For Political Research, these two factors are possibly linked. A younger demographic’s endorsement of environmentalism may be the driving force behind both.