“Young people should take part in the democratic process at all levels of governance, from the local to the international,” said Tina Novak (Croatia), Youth Delegate to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. She addressed the International Council Meeting of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) during a panel discussion on “Youth participation in democracy and policymaking at the international level” on 12 November 2020.
“Youth participation is very much needed and essential for a democratic society. Youth engagement on the part of public authorities helps young people to be relevant in the decision-making process and also allows them to broaden their own experiences,” she explained.
Novak stressed the fundamental role that international institutions play in promoting the political participation of youth. She cited the Youth Delegates project of the Congress as a good example of young people contributing to the functioning of international organisations. Indeed, youth delegates bring an interesting point of view to the discussions held during the sessions of the Congress and the meetings of its Committees. Novak shared her experience and advice, encouraging young people who want to participate in public life to take part in the Congress’s programme or in similar initiatives.
The European Law Students’ Association is an international non-profit organisation run by and for law students and recent law graduates. It offers its members a platform to develop their existing skills and acquire new ones, as well as interact with fellow students from different States and legal systems around Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, is the organisation’s patron.
The Congress initiative “Rejuvenating Politics” aims to promote the participation of young people in public life and in the decision-making process at local and regional levels. Since 2014, this “Youth Delegates” project has allowed young people from the 47 Council of Europe member States to take part in the Congress sessions and in the meetings of its committees, contributing to the discussions on the topics on the agenda.