Let's talk about elections: in the run-up to 2024, already being dubbed "the World Cup of elections", given the number of polling stations people will be heading to across the world, the EESC's flagship annual event for civil society communicators will focus on the vote for the new European Parliament
The 2024 European elections are expected to strongly impact the course of the EU over the next five years. Yet their relevance may be downplayed, or they may not be talked about as much as local or national votes, which may lead to voters not turning out in great numbers.
Can civil society lend a hand in getting people out to vote? Can employers', workers' and other civil society organisations mobilise their members to go and vote? The seminar will explore how civil society organisations can play a part in promoting the importance of European elections against a backdrop of democratic backsliding in several Member States and a loss of faith in democratic institutions affecting all countries. It will specifically look at three topics, which may well dominate debates in the months to come:
- Disinformation and its impact on the 2024 elections: it is safe to say that fake news and false narratives will be prolific in electoral campaigns for seats in the European Parliament. Now that AI is becoming the new frontier of disinformation, will it be even harder to crack down on it? Can the new EU rules on disinformation help stop the armies of social media trolls from spreading lies?
- Mobilising civil society around elections – what works and what doesn't: with democracy on the back burner across Europe, is civil society ready to impart the importance of European elections to Europeans and convince them to turn out in force? With traditional media seemingly losing the upper hand, will the battle for voters' hearts and minds be won on social media or rather in person, at public gatherings? What are the dos and don’ts of communicating with prospective voters?
- Elections and young people: how can young people be convinced that their vote matters? How can we ensure they cast their ballots en masse? With recent polls showing that more than half of under 25s feel abandoned by mainstream politics and the EU, what will it take to change their perception?
The seminar is part of the "Connecting EU" series, which every year offers a platform where press and communication professionals from civil society organisations can network and discuss current issues of common interest affecting Europe. It brings together EESC members and other EU representatives, partner organisations from Member States, journalists and researchers to debate the hot issues of the day.
The Connecting EU 2023 seminar, which will be hosted by the European Labour Authority, is organised in partnership with the Economic and Social Council of Slovakia and with the support of the Office of the European Parliament in Bratislava.