Concept note

Your Europe, Your Say! 2024

Stand up for democracy & speak up for Europe: Youth priorities for the next EU legislative term

In 2024 the Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS) will take place on 6 March as part of the Civil Society Week with the participation of 108 young or first-time voters coming from the EU Member States, the EU candidate countries and the UK.


In November 2023 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) had organised a seminar on "European Elections 2024: Why vote?", in close cooperation with the Economic and Social Council of Slovakia and with the support of the Office of the European Parliament in Bratislava. During the discussions disinformation and the lack of interest in political engagement were cited as the main reasons for poor voter turnout in European elections.

As the EU elections approach, YEYS2024 is focusing on crucial issues, giving specific attention to combating disengagement and promoting active participation among the youth. YEYS's mission this year is to explore the aspirations, needs, and expectations of young individuals in anticipation of the upcoming EU Parliament.

As EESC President Röpke said at that event, "If we want the 2024 elections to be successful, then all of us - the EU institutions, the media, communication specialists – need to work together to raise awareness in order to fight disinformation and, most importantly, to bring Europe closer to its people."

Recognizing the influence of disinformation on EU elections, YEYS2024 is dedicated to adopting a considerate approach, being committed to responsibly address these elements, fostering an environment that promotes awareness and critical thinking.

The Your Europe, Your Say! therefore, is expected to identify the hopes and needs of youth regarding the future EU leaders, along with the promotion of active participation and the combatting of disengagement, in the year of the European elections.

Outline of the 2024 YEYS event

During the opening session keynote speakers will address and introduce the above-mentioned themes.

Afterwards participants will engage in morning and afternoon consultation panels, divided into groups.

During the initial segment of the day, the attention will be directed towards the critical issues of disengagement and youth participation. The aim is to explore the factors contributing to disengagement among the youth, seeking insights and perspectives that can inform strategies for fostering active involvement.

This dedicated focus highlights the EESC's commitment to understanding and addressing challenges related to youth engagement, laying the groundwork for meaningful discussions and potential solutions.

In the latter portion of the day, emphasis will shift towards exploring the nuanced aspects of young people's needs, expectations, and hopes concerning the next legislative term. This segment is designed to provide a platform for in-depth discussions, allowing participants to articulate their aspirations for the future EU leaders and Parliamentarians and express their expectations. Here, attention will center on themes highlighted in the participants' applications, including inclusion and diversity, democracy threats, social media and disinformation, climate change, and education. By focusing on these dimensions, the aim is to create a comprehensive understanding of the perspectives that shape the youth's vision for the future of EU.

Throughout both sessions, active participation from the youth, encouraging them to propose insightful recommendations will be anticipated. These recommendations are intended to serve as valuable input that can be integrated into the EESC resolution for the EU elections. By actively engaging the youth in this collaborative process, the aim is to harness their perspectives and ideas, ensuring that their voices contribute significantly to the development of impactful resolutions that reflect their concerns, aspirations, and expectations. This inclusive approach highlights the importance of youth input in shaping meaningful outcomes at the EESC level.

Format and style of the YEYS 2024

The objective of the YEYS 2024 is to inspire its young participants to exercise their democratic right to vote and actively encourage others to actively get engaged and do so, too.

In order to facilitate the participants' active involvement and engagement in the discussions, the YEYS workshops will be hosted using participatory leadership or The Art of Hosting methods. This is a highly effective way of harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organising capacity of groups of any size.

Based on the assumption that people give their energy and lend their resources to what matters most to them, the methods blend powerful conversational processes to invite people to take charge of the challenges facing them.

People who experience this way of meeting typically say that they walk away feeling more empowered and able to help guide the meetings and conversations they are part of move towards more effective and desirable outcomes.

EESC members will be invited to be part of, however not in a leading role, the conversations so that they can offer input based on their experience and expertise while at the same time listening and interacting with the young participants which will be beneficiary for both sides.

Outcome of the YEYS

Encouraging the participants to debate, collaborate and find consensus in the two workshops, they will formulate their priorities and expectations into specific recommendations for the next EU legislative term.

In the closing youth plenary, five policy proposals will be voted in order of priority and significance and presented to high level representatives from the European institutions.

These recommendations from the YEYS will be considered as a youth panel consultation and will be a distinctive contribution to the overall output of the Civil Society Week.

They will also be part of the EESC's resolution on the EU elections in April 2024.