SU4E Road Show #10: Brussels
Step Up For Europe Road Show: Stop #10
We were very excited to make a stop in Brussels, the "capital of Europe” and seat of major European political institutions like the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. In Brussels, we met with young active citizens from JCI Belgium and JCI The Heart of Europe for the debating event "Young Voices in Europe - Youth Activism and its role in the upcoming EP Elections" to discuss the topic of youth activism on a European level based on the current debates about the EU copyright reform and Article 13, in which young people all over Europe showed active engagement.
The political participation of young people is in transformation: Compared to other age groups, young people participate more in alternative forms of political engagement f. e. by posting on social media, street demonstrations or signing petitions, rather than going to the polls. But these forms of participation also present a huge political resource and potential to exercise influence in the public political debate. Lately, young people’s protests around the reform of the EU Copyright Directive and Article 13, which requires online platforms to filter or remove copyrighted material from their websites, have demonstrated that young citizens do show enormous interest in the political future of Europe, but quite often politicians and decision-makers do not take their opinions and movements seriously.
With this event we aimed to give young active citizens a platform to present their opinions and discuss how young people can make their voice heard and influence political debates and processes, apart from the traditional form of voting.
The event was joined by MEP Tiemo Woelken (S&D), who has been actively involved in the discussions about the EU copyright reform and campaigned against Article 13. He shared with us valuable insights on the public debates around Article 13, the role of young people in it and what we can learn from this process. We agreed, that the EU copyright reform has shown, that to engage more young people in political processes, their voice should not be ingnored and their demands have to be taken seriously by political decision-makers.
With Step Up For Europe we want to advance participatory democracy by overcoming barriers, furthering dialogue with political decision-makers and encourage youth to speak up to influence the future of Europe!
Group discussion at the Representation of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the EU
JCI Belgium National President Pepijn Palmans signing our Step Up For Europe Road Show declaration