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Societal and political engagement of young people and their perspectives on Europe

Specific challenge: Since its creation, the European Union has been constantly changing, shaped by European citizens, and young people represent both its present and its future. Consequently, exploring the perspectives of young people on Europe and the ways in which they engage in shaping its future is crucial for the long-term success of the European project. However, according to the recent findings of the Eurobarometer (Standard EB 77, spring 2012), half of the young people tend to distrust the European Union and this percentage has constantly increased in the aftermath of the crisis, rising to 50% in 2012. Also, almost 50% of them consider that things are going in the wrong direction in the EU. Despite that, according to the Eurobarometer Flash ‘European Youth: participation in democratic life’ 2013 (n°375), young people are more active in non-governmental and local associations than in political parties, even though most of them generally vote in elections at different levels.

The EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018) aims to encourage young people to be active citizens and participate in society in order to ensure that they have a say in the democratic processes that shape Europe’s future. In this context it is important to understand how young people participate in the society under unequal regional conditions and expectations, express their views (also in terms of language, meaning and media) and advocate their interests which may involve new forms of political and civic actions, mixing traditional and new forms of engagement such as through the use of digital media inter alia and creative practices, and reconsider socially innovative problem solving process.

It is also important to show how public authorities establish a broad engagement with young people not just in democratic processes, but in all public sector processes, in order to increase trust in and accountability of public authorities. Previous eParticipation projects[1] focused on the use of ICT for citizen involvement in political decisions and public policy making at local, national and European level. Open participation, open processesand open engagement allow young, connected people to become active actors in all decision-making processes and activities of the public sector.


b) The foreseen innovation actions on open participation and open engagement shall develop reusable service components, methods and applications to enable public authorities to quickly open their decision-making processes. Project must demonstrate how open engagement needs to be firmly embedded within, and part of public sector processes and identify the key barriers for wide scale deployment. The services need to be open and should take into consideration political, organisational, social, linguistic and cultural differences across the EU. Cross-border as well as privacy, data protection and security features are to be addressed.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

b) Through the use of the preferred communication channel of the young their engagement in public administrations' activities and decision-making processes should increase their trust and interest in political activities.

Through the development of reusable components, public authorities throughout the Union will be able to quickly offer tools to their citizens to participate in the decision-making process.

 Type of action:  b) Innovation actions


[1] See also