28 November from 10.30 to 12.30 - Maison de la Région

Interpretation: FR/EN


Sponsored by the Alsace Region and the European Youth Forum


Does youth abstention in European elections pose a threat to democratic legitimacy? How can political parties increase the political engagement of young people, adapt to their needs and include them in their election campaigns? 

League of Young Voters, Europe

Low youth participation and representation at elections has been a recurring trend in in Europe. The Lab will present a new initiative, the League of Young Voters in Europe, which seeks to mobilise young voters for the European Parliament elections, but also encourages political parties and candidates to actively address young people's concerns. In collaboration with VoteWatch, the League of Young Voters set up an online tool for young citizens to explore their political affiliation. The League of Young Voters also develops education material on content and procedures of European elections and is working on the publication of a study on the issue of youth absenteeism at European elections. A discussion in the lab will look at the challenges that youth absenteeism poses to the democratic legitimacy of the European Parliament; how young people can be more engaged in political debates as well as how political parties can adapt to better meet young people's needs. 

Website: http://www.youngvoters.eu/eu


Mr Luis BOUZA GARCIASpain, College of Europe, Universidad Carlos III Madrid

Luis Bouza Garcia has a PhD on European politics from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. He is currently an associate professor at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid and is the Academic Coordinator of European General Studies courses at the College of Europe in Bruges. He has also been a postdoctoral lecturing fellow in the field of comparative politics at the University of East Anglia. His main interest is the contribution of participatory reforms to the democratic legitimacy of the EU and the emergence of European debates in the public sphere.

Ms Jenny DE NIJS, Luxembourg, League of Young Voters in Europe

Jenny de Nijs currently works as a Consultant for the European Youth Forum, where she exclusively works on the League of Young Voters in Europe project. The League aims to inform young people about the European Parliament and the content of its upcoming elections in a nonpartisan way. Jenny previously worked for Caritas Luxembourg in Kosovo, where she developed strategies for gender equality and peace building projects in the Balkan region. There, she also participated in several election monitoring missions by the OSCE and the EU Special Representative's offices. Jenny holds degrees in European Politics and in International Studies and Diplomacy.

Mr Joan Manuel LANFRANCO PARI, Spain, Votewatch Europe

Joan Manuel Lanfranco Pari is Policy and Communications Manager at VoteWatch Europe, an independent organisation set up to promote better debates and greater transparency in EU decision-making. He is also a researcher on VoteWatch's special projects aimed at raising awareness of, and interest in, the European Parliament elections of 2014 (the latest one being MyVote2014.eu). He has worked at the European Parliament, at pan-European NGOs, and in an EU public affairs consultancy. He specialises in participatory democracy, transparency, open government, campaigning, social media and communications.


Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Ms Lilia BENHADJI, France, Project Officer, ANACEJ (Association nationale des conseils d'enfants et des jeunes)

Lilia Benhadji is responsible for international development at the Anacej, a network of elected children and youth in France. Anacej promotes the participation of children and young people in public decision-making and consultation with local elected officials. The association assists local authorities in the implementation of instances of youth participation. Before every election, Anacej leads a campaign to encourage young people to register as voters and to vote.

Mr Andrew BRADLEY, South Africa, Director, Office of International IDEA to the EU

Andrew Bradley heads the Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the EU in Brussels, Belgium. He was previously the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, where he was responsible for the maintenance of ACP-EU relations. Prior to that, he was a diplomat and served in South African Embassies and Missions in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. His academic qualifications include graduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in Political Sciences, Strategic Studies, International Marketing and International Politics.

Ms Julia REDA, President of the Young Pirates of Europe

Julia Reda is the president of Young Pirates of Europe, the European youth organisation of the Pirate Party. Between 2010 and 2012, she was the president of Young Pirates Germany. Her political work is focused on European integration, youth participation in politics and liquid democracy. Julia Reda is a student of political science and communications science at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.

Ms Biljana ZASOVA, Macedonian/French, Head of Programmes, Association of Local Democracy Agencies

Biljana Zasova Friederich is Head of Programmes at the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) where she is in charge with managing the implementation of 23 Europe-wide projects as well as developing partnership building activities with Eastern Partnership and the Southern Neighbourhood countries. Her professional experience numbers a several-year experience in the Council of Europe in developing and implementing youth democratic leadership and civil society programmes on youth in South-East Europe and the neighbourhood area. She runs ALDA's Strasbourg and Skopje offices, mostly on EU projects such as Youth in Action, Europe for Citizens and Non-State Actors and Local Authorities.

Rapporteur to the Plenary session

Ms Lilla MERABET, France, Regional Councillor in Alsace and Vice-President of the "Youth, Social Economy and Solidarity" Commission

Lilla Merabet has worked as a Regional Councillor in Alsace since March 2010. In her quality as Vice-President of the "Youth, Social Economy and Solidarity" Commission, she initiated and implements a transversal policy dedicated to youth. Under her lead, a Regional Youth Project "Priorité Jeunesse Alsace" has been developed including over 20 innovative measures focusing on three priorities: counselling, social and professional inclusion, and voluntary and citizenship engagement of young people. Lilla Merabet is also the Vice-President of the Youth Commission at the Association of Regions of France and the Chairwoman of the Sub-Committee on Youth at the the Assembly of European Regions (AER).


Mr François FRIEDERICH, Head of division electoral assistance, Council of Europe


Mr Guillaume DELOIZON

Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the League of Young Voters:
% Stimmen
63% 70
a. Yes
37% 41
b. No

Gesamtstimmen: 111

Die Abstimmung endete am 29.11.13 12:00 und ist daher gesperrt.