Student moderated panel explores priorities of youth voters and European identity.
Four young European Parliament candidates discussed their vision for Europe at the Hertie School on 11 April. On the panel were Hannah Neumann, 35, from Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in Germany, Vojtěch Vais, 26, a member of TOP 09 Party from Czechia, Marco Candela, 34, with Podemos in Spain, and Caroline Flohr, 25, a candidate for the pan-European party Volt in Germany.
Participants discussed the priorities of young voters in Europe and examined why youth voter turnout is low despite increasing political engagement and activism, such as school strikes. In 2014, only 28% of 18-24-year-olds voted in the European Parliament elections, compared with 51% over 55. Candidates attributed some of the low youth engagement in the last European Parliament election to a lack of a cohesive European identity, but all four were optimistic about turnout for the upcoming election. “We are speaking and debating more about Europe,” said Neumann, “Younger people are more pro-European, they have grown up in a unified Europe and for them it is a normal thing.” Candela attributed this to the fact that young people are digital natives and are therefore better informed about Europe and current affairs.
The event was part of the The Governance Post event series, a student-led public initiative at the Hertie School together with European Horizons, the Hertie School chapter of a global, student-led policy incubator with a mission to give young people a voice in the future of Europe and in transatlantic relations. Student moderators were Katherine Tepper (MIA), Sophia Engel (MPP) and Johannes Liebig (MPP).
Listen to the full discussion below.