According to 2015 EC Youth report ‘Interest in political life of society is a stepping stone to involvement in community life, and vice versa. Interest prompts an individual to become informed about how decisions are made in the policy-making process, what the opinions of different stakeholders are, and what means of participation are available.
Ultimately, interest can engender willingness to actively participate and address shared problems together with other members of the community.’ As the report goes though, ‘electoral and party engagement seem to have limited appeal for young citizens’ as well as any ‘traditional forms of political engagement such as voting and becoming members of political parties.
This report together with ‘all time low’ figures observed in the European Parliamentarian elections of 2014: 43.61% of all citizens with voting rights expressed their opinion within the elections (163.5 million out of 396.1 million) show that there is a strong need of a strategical, modern and inclusive solution.
Compared with the 2009 EP elections, 17 countries out of EU28 had lower turnout in the 2014 EP elections, as well as an overall – 36% at the EU level.
According to ‘Review of European and National Election Results’ EPRS publication in 2015, the lowest turnout in the EP elections in 2014 (as well as in 2009) was among young people (18 – 24 years old), followed by the 25-39 years old age category, whereas the 55+ years old had the highest presence on the elections.
Therefore, it is evident that we live in an era of democratic disconnection, with a widespread concern about the declining engagement in the civic life, citizens being less and less inclined to vote, to join political parties, to campaign for social causes, and finally to trust political processes. Moreover, young people are frequently described as uninterested, lack involvement in the democratic life and forecasts of turnouts in the European Parlament 2019 elections among the young people are widely pessimist and negative.
Our focus on the Internet and media tools stems from the ideas highlighted in the Youth report mentioned above.
- Equip 30 youth workers with necessary competencies in order to address the democratic disconnect of young people using innovative techniques;
- Identify and exploiting specific digital media tools which motivate young people to become active citizens;
- Develop specific communication techniques connected to social media society that inspire young people to become active citizens;
- Share effective online tools which will help 10 NGOs to better engage young people in the democratic processes;
- Strengthen 10 partners cooperation through the E+ in the field of democratic participation of youth.
Since the Internet provides the opportunity to participate in the society online and promotes social inclusion, a special emphasis during the TC will be given to the new media society as a mean of revitalizing civic life and democracy, by exploring the topics:
– Participation in the civil society – looking at the old models in the new e-context;
– Fostering digital dialogue for greater participation;
– E-skills for Democracy e. g. e-voting, online petitioning and campaigning, etc.