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Why vote?

The European Parliament is composed of 705 European members, who do not sit by nationality but by transnational policy groups (there are currently 8 in all) and work in the form of technical committees on all the EU’s areas of competence. The Parliament meets about once a month in Strasbourg to vote on legislative proposals.

Members of the European Parliament are elected every five years by direct universal suffrage. Seats are assigned depending on the number of inhabitants in each Member State, with States determining voting procedures, constituencies, eligibility conditions and settlement of electoral disputes.

When you vote in the European Parliamentary elections, it’s you and no one else who chooses the people who are going to be making key decisions on a daily basis:

As one of the European Union’s two legislative bodies, the Parliament may be regarded as “the voice of the citizens” in the EU: along with the Council of the European Union (composed of ministers from the Member States, who meet a hundred or so times a year to debate such fields as agriculture, foreign affairs and economic issues), it decides on legislative acts that have an impact on Europeans’ everyday lives, such as food safety and consumer protection, the environment, and most sectors of the economy.

The Parliament votes the EU’s annual budget established with the Council, and may exercise its right of adoption or overall rejection of the draft budget presented to it. It is also responsible for taking decisions on “non-compulsory” expenditures and may propose modifications to “compulsory” expenditures.

The Parliament exercises democratic scrutiny over the EU’s institutions (approval of the European Commission, for example).

The European Parliament’s approval is also required for most international agreements concluded by the EU. It also helps shape the EU’s development and humanitarian aid policy.

In addition, since 2014, the European elections have had a decisive impact on the appointment of the President of the European Commission: in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon (Article 17 § 7 TEU), the President of the European Executive may now be the chief candidate of the European elections majority party. When they cast their vote, voters therefore not only choose a list of Members of Parliament, they also express their preference for a Commission Presidency candidate.

A few examples of fields in which the European Parliament plays a role:

  • Abolishing roaming fees in Europe.
  • Adopting measures to limit the effects of global warming across the world by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of cars, industry and electricity plants.
  • Protecting copyright in Europe in the digital age.
  • Guaranteeing transparency in trade agreement negotiations between the EU and third countries.
  • Guaranteeing protection of personal data.
  • Defending the “equal work, equal pay” principle with revision of the Directive on posting of workers.
  • Creating the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to combat fraud.
  • Adopting antimoney laundering measures contributing to the fight against terrorism.
  • Setting up a European Coast Guard and Border Guard Agency to control the EU’s external borders.

The next European Parliament elections take place on 23-26 May 2019 giving all adult EU citizens the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament. Help shape Europe’s future and vote!

The last European elections in 2014 were the largest transnational elections ever held at the same time. This time the stakes are even higher. By voting, you help decide what kind of Europe we have in the years to come.

The European elections in May 2019 will have a direct impact on your life. They will decide how Europe will act in the coming years to address your concerns about jobs, business, security, migration and climate change.

Because Europe belongs to all of us, we should all take these decisions together. So it’s not only important that you vote, but also your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. When everybody votes, everybody wins.

The European elections is about selecting who you want to represent you as an MEP and defend your interests in the EU. Not only can MEPs shape and decide on new legislation, they also vote on new trade agreements, scrutinise the EU institutions and how your tax money is spent, as well as launch investigations into specific issues.

Why should you vote in the European elections?

  • because the world won't wait till next time;
  • because I want to protect my privacy;
  • because we need to work together to secure our borders;
  • because I want the right to live, love, study and work wherever I choose;
  • because too many young people are still without work;
  • because we need to work together to manage migration;
  • because that gives our parliament the strength to hold power to account;
  • because we need to tackle climate change right now;
  • because we need to invest to help our economies grow;
  • because I believe in human rights and the rights of minorities;
  • because to defeat terrorism we all need to work together;
  • because we need to work together to protect our environment;
  • because I want the right to live in peace;
  • because I believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work;
  • because I believe in turning solidarity into action;
  • because I don’t want diversity to turn to division;
  • because I’d rather take responsibility for the future than blame others for the present.

As with the post-electoral survey carried out following the 2009 European elections, there were few differences on the basis of gender. In general, men were more engaged in the electoral campaign than women and their turnout was higher. There were more pronounced differences between the different age groups. The youngest Europeans (18-24) are more positive about the European Union than the oldest (55+), even though far fewer of them turned out to vote.

Turnout was higher among men than women (45% / 41%). The gap increased from two percentage points in 2009 to four percentage points in 2014. - Turnout was again highest among the oldest respondents. Some 51% of the 55+ group voted in the European elections, while only 28% did in the 18-24 age group. This is relatively unchanged from 2009.

There are clear differences according to age and occupational category when it comes to the time at which the voting choice is made, but almost no difference by gender. - Young people were more inclined to decide on the day of the elections or a few day before (28%, compared with 11% for the 55+ group).

The two most common reasons people gave for voting was that it was their duty as citizens and that they always vote.

How to vote in the European Parliament Election:

Great! Now you’ve understood the importance of using your democratic right and voting in the European Parliament Elections you need to know how to vote!

Voting is easy, but varies by state. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are registered to vote.

NB: Nationals of Cyprus (by 1 April 2019) and Ireland (by 9 May 2019) need to register before they can vote.

Voting from abroad?

If you live in your home country, you can only vote for the EU candidates standing for election in your own country.

If you are registered and live in another EU country, you can:

  • vote for candidates standing in your home country or
  • participate in the election of your host country and vote for candidates standing in that country.
Compulsory voting

If voting in European elections is compulsory in your host country and, following your registration, you were put on the electoral roll of that country, you are obliged to vote - just as the nationals of that country are.

Voting is compulsory in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, and Luxembourg.

The next European elections take place on 23-26 May 2019 giving all adult EU citizens the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament. Help shape Europe’s future and vote!

The last European elections in 2014 were the largest transnational elections ever held at the same time. This time the stakes are even higher. By voting, you help decide what kind of Europe we have in the years to come.

The European elections in May 2019 will have a direct impact on your life. They will decide how Europe will act in the coming years to address your concerns about jobs, business, security, migration and climate change.

Because Europe belongs to all of us, we should all take these decisions together. So it’s not only important that you vote, but also your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. When everybody votes, everybody wins.

Casting your vote

Although there are some common rules regarding the elections, some aspects can vary by country, such as whether it is possible to vote by mail or from abroad.

Specific details such as who the candidates will be and where your local polling station will gradually become available. For the latest data, check with your national election authority.

If you live in another EU country, you should be able to vote for your MEP there. If your country of origin allows voting from abroad, you might also have the option to vote there instead. To know if this is a possibility, check with your embassy. Of course, you can only vote once. So you either vote in your county of origin or in your new host country, not both.


EU Funded Youth Programmes

Erasmus+ Opportunities for Young People

Erasmus+ offers various opportunities to organise projects for the mobility of young people and youth workers. There are numerous pathways to engage in Erasmus+ projects:

  • European Solidarity Corps
  • Volunteering
  • Traineeships/Jobs
  • Solidarity Projects
  • Youth Exchanges
  • Training Courses
  • Mobility of Youth Workers
  • Transnational Cooperation Activities (TCA)
  • Structured Dialogue meetings

Different Erasmus+ pathways are currently being consolidated under the umbrella of the European Solidarity Corps. The European Solidarity Corps provides easy access for young people to reach organisations and importantly, vice versa. If you are interested in applying for Erasmus+ projects, the ESC is the easiest platform to find opportunities.

European Solidarity Corps:

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.

After completing a simple registration process, European Solidarity Corps participants could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, such as helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards, assisting in centres for asylum seekers, or addressing different social issues in communities.

Projects supported by the European Solidarity Corps can last from two to twelve months. They will usually be located within the European Union Member States.

The European Solidarity Corps brings together young people to build a more inclusive society, supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal challenges. It offers an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help, learn and develop.


Individual volunteering lets young people participate in the daily work of organisations and lasts between 2 and 12 months, and in some cases, 2 weeks and up. Participants can volunteer abroad or in their country of residence for projects covering social inclusion, environment, culture, and more.

Volunteering teams are groups of 10-40 young people from at least two different countries who volunteer together for a period of between 2 weeks and 2 months. The costs of accommodation and food are covered. Participants also receive a small allowance for personal expenses.

Traineeships and Jobs:

Traineeships count as full-time work practice and last between 2 and 6 months – renewable once. They are paid for by the organisation responsible for the traineeship. Trainees develop their personal, educational, social, civic and professional skills.

Jobs are full-time and last between 3 and 12 months. They are paid for by the organisation employing the participant.

Traineeships and jobs can take place in the participant’s country of residence or abroad. If abroad, participants receive a small allowance to help them relocate and settle in a foreign country.

Participants of volunteering activities, traineeships and jobs get online linguistic support, training and mentoring. Their travel costs to and from the project venue are covered.

Solidarity Projects:

Solidarity projects are initiated, developed and implemented over a period of 2 to 12 months by at least five young people who want to make a positive change in their local community. Young people who want to run a solidarity project in their country of residence must register in the European Solidarity Corps portal.

Benefits of joining the European Solidarity Corps:

Taking part in a European Solidarity Corps project will be a significant achievement for any young person. It will be an asset when applying for a job and it will help you when you apply for higher education. The European Solidarity Corps could be a new opportunity for you to engage in a meaningful activity which could prove to be a stepping stone into employment.

After participating in a project you will be entitled to receive a certificate that documents your participation. You could use this when applying for jobs or further learning.

As well as being useful for your future career prospects, European Solidarity Corps you will receive a package of other benefits, which will vary depending on the type of project that you undertake. It will also depend on whether you are participating in the Volunteering or Occupational parts of the Corps.

If you decide to volunteer, you will not receive a wage, but will on the other hand be entitled to travel, lodging and subsistence as well as insurance coverage for the duration of the activity. You will receive relevant training before you start and after you arrive on site.

For participants doing an apprenticeship or a traineeship, there will, in some countries, be an employment contract established in accordance with the national regulations of the hosting country. A subsistence allowance will be provided.

For participants that are recruited for a job placement, there will always be a formal labour contract and a wage in accordance with local laws, regulations and collective agreements.

What could I be asked to do in a European Solidarity Corps project?

European Solidarity Corps projects will cover a wide variety of topics but all will be within the Mission of the European Solidarity Corps, and meet its Principles.

Examples of what you could be asked to do include:

  • Helping rebuild a school or community centre that has been devastated following an earthquake.
  • Providing support to newly arrived asylum seekers.
  • Clearing vegetation from forests to help prevent wildfires.
  • Working with disabled people in a community centre.
  • You will not be asked to provide any services related to the immediate response to disasters. These types of tasks will continue to be performed by those with the specialist training and experience to operate safely in these dangerous environments.

As a European Solidarity Corps participant, one agrees to uphold the following principles:

  • European Solidarity Corps participants embrace the values of solidarity, respect for human dignity and human rights, and believe in the promotion of a fair and equal society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality prevail;
  • European Solidarity Corps participants strive to enhance solidarity between people, while respecting their cultures and their traditions, and aim to build a community of shared responsibilities and mutual support;
  • European Solidarity Corps participants are willing to make meaningful contributions to society and will show solidarity, cooperation and mutual understanding;
  • European Solidarity Corps participants must not act in any way that could put others or themselves at risk of being harmed;
  • European Solidarity Corps participants must respect the rules, organisational structure and practices that govern the hosting organisation, bearing in mind also that this frame may be necessary to respect the personal health, safety and dignity of individuals involved in the activity. European Solidarity Corps participants must also abide by the laws in force in the host country;
  • joining the European Solidarity Corps must always be the voluntary choice of a young person, and they are free to resign from the initiative. They have the right to refuse to accept any offer of a Corps placement without affecting their chance to receive other offers in the future;
  • the participation in the European Solidarity Corps does not involve the payment of any fee;
  • at the end of their placement, European Solidarity Corps participants are entitled to receive a European Solidarity Corps certificate, confirming their participation in the activity;
  • when accepting a placement for a volunteering activity, European Solidarity Corps participants will sign a Solidarity Contract with the participating organisation, detailing the conditions of their activity, in line with the principles of the European Solidarity Corps Charter. For an occupational activity, the employment contract will serve a similar purpose;
  • prior to the start of the activity and during their deployment, European Solidarity Corps participants will receive clear information about the tasks they will carry out and, where appropriate, adequate training and linguistic support.

Youth Exchanges:

Youth Exchanges allow groups of young people (13-30 years old) from different countries to meet and live together for up to 21 days to carry out a series of activities focusing on a theme that is relevant for them. These activities are planned and prepared by the participants involved in the project. They can take place in a Member State or outside the EU.

For youth workers, organisations can take part in opportunities to support the professional development and network of youth workers, including activities such as:

  • seminars,
  • training courses,
  • networking events,
  • study visits, and
  • job shadowing/observation periods abroad.

How do they work?

Organisations or groups of young people interested in taking part can apply for opportunities in one of the following roles:

  • Coordinator of a youth mobility project - responsible for applying on behalf of all participants,
  • Sending Organisations- an organisation in charge of sending young people and/or youth workers abroad,
  • Receiving Organisations- responsible for hosting, developing a programme of activities for participants and providing support.

Training Courses:

In order for individuals and organisations to build capacity and create pan-European networks, training courses provide opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills in the sector.

Training courses can be developed to meet any needs; for example in the fields of tourism, ecology, foreign languages, digital space etc. The prerequisites are dictated by the nature of the project. Normally, participants must be over the age of 18. There are training courses for all levels of experience, including for those already working in specific industries and those aiming to enter the field.

Training courses can last from two days to two months, and must take place in the country of one of the participating organisations. Projects can include up to 50 people. These are a great way to develop capabilities whilst simultaneously travelling and creating a network.

This time I am voting!

If you want to promote the necessity of voting amongst your peers and help to promote democracy then you can find out about events where you can promote the upcoming election below: https://www.thistimeimvoting.eu/

And do not rule out running as a candidate! Anyone eligible to vote is eligible to become an MEP if voted for.

Impressum of the platform:

Gamifyeu.org is a platform developed as part of the project called “YES! GAM-EU : Youth Engagement Strategies and Gamification in the EU” and it aims to:

  • Make information and news about the EU available through innovative media channels in multiple languages, by engaging young people through an online simulation gaming platform and app and by creating virtual reality educational tools
  • Provide educational workshops and events for young people and youth workers to know about EU policies and priorities in the field of youth and to become multipliers of EU values among their peers at the local, regional, national and European level
  • Provide large-scale creative, experiential and immersive learning experiences for young people to allow them to meet and exchange and at the same time to engage with policy issues and to find and develop solutions for the future of Europe
  • Organise events (road-map) to bring the EU to different rural and remote areas as well as in urban disadvantaged neighbourhoods and contexts, specifically focusing on 2019 parliamentary elections

With approaching European Parliamentary Elections (2019), we believe that we should foster a new approach towards the EU as a vehicle for positive change and we should engage European citizens to question themselves about the kind of Europe they want in the near future. In order to do so, young people should be key actors and the first ones to be addressed, as they can be leaders and multipliers in identifying and fostering concrete innovative ways towards a more democratic, equal and inclusive Union.

In this sense, youth civic engagement emerged as one of the subjects that young people ask the EU to prioritise. According to their views and ideas, as collected through the “Future of Europe” study, one of the main reasons for the lack of engagement is the inherent lack of knowledge about the EU and EU politics and opportunities.

Young people themselves, suggest for example to recognise the key role of youth organisations to train up young people and youth workers to provide workshops on EU topics and institutions and to promote more opportunities to meet, engage and exchange both with EU officials and with other young people across Europe, as only through experience and practice it is possible to “truly understand what the whole concept is about”.

The project is supported through Erasmus plus programme - European Youth Together.

About the applicant:

Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) is an international Non-Governmental Youth organization established in 1986 in Strasbourg by a group of 120 young people from 11 different countries. Nowadays YEU is a member of the European Youth Forum in Brussels and considered by the European Commission and the EU as a European level non-governmental organization.

YEU aims at increasing tolerance and awareness between different countries, cultures and traditions, and promoting a greater level of comprehension through the development of youth activities such as; youth exchanges, seminars, conventions, meetings, study visits, training courses, development of educative manuals. The main aim of YEU is to promote peace, understanding, and co-operation between the young people of the world, in a spirit of respect for human rights.

Visit website for more details about YEU: www.yeu-international.org

YEU Facebook/Instagram: @YEUWorld

About the partners:

APS La Fenice

The organization was officially funded and registered in 2012. However, the people involved in its creation were already volunteering at the former Youth Centre of Tortona or working within the educational and youth services of the local Municipality (from 2005/2006). La Fenice implements activities in the field of youth policies, youth work, educational and youth services and cultural events from a few years now, collaborating (as individuals and professionals as well as partners) with the Youth Policy Office of Tortona Municipality. From its birth, La fenice has been focusing on using and developing non-formal education methodologies and on writing, promoting and implementing European projects and initiatives in partnership with the local high schools and other local organisations.

Visit website for details about La Fenice www.lafenicetortona.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaFeniceAps/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apslafenice/?hl=it
- Website: http://www.lafenicetortona.org/site/it/

DYPALL Network

DYPALL (Developing Youth Participation at Local Level) is a European network of over 50 municipalities and civil society organisations from more than 30 countries, that aims to involve young people in decision-making processes at local level, and thus enable municipal and regional authorities to address the needs and interests of youth, engage young people as active actors of problem solving and increase the level of ownership, commitment and involvement of an important part of our communities.

Visit website for details about Dypall: www.dypall.com


Active Bulgarian Society

Active Bulgarian Society (ABS) is a youth network that we created using our imagination in order to improve our potential and surrounding environment with fresh and positive ideas. What solidifies us is our passion to take the initiative and involve young people in social life, through European Mobility and Training programs.

Together with our focus on networking and determination for future development, Active Bulgarian Society applies an innovative approach to develop youngsters through deep involvement in the activities of the organization. At ABS we are looking forward for the changes to happen. We have the time and willingness to share our time and make our dreams happen. Considering that together we could set the foundations of next generations with personal, social and professional development, we invite you to check our team and join us. Gain more confidence in planning and implementation of YOUR youth initiatives.

Visit website for more details about ABS: www.activebulgariansociety.org

https://activebulgariansociety.org https://www.facebook.com/ActiveBulgarianSociety/

Project 2020/Hiraeth

Hiraeth/Project 2020 is a not-for-profit organisation based in Cardiff aiming to develop innovative community projects and inspire long-term positive change. We work in areas of Wales and England developing innovative community projects and inspiring long-term positive change. Our mission is to develop innovative community projects and inspire long-term positive change.

https://www.hiraethcic.org https://www.facebook.com/hiraethcic/

Authors and contributors:

Youth for Exchange and Understanding:

  • Tamara Gojkovic
  • Vladimir Mitrovic
  • Ismael Paez Civico
  • Simone Salvati
  • Matej Manevski
  • Igor Jojkic

Active Bulgarian Society:

  • Kiril Spasov
  • Ivan Kitanov

La Fenice:

  • Michelangelo Belletti
  • Giulia Annibaletti

DYPALL network:

  • Veronica Vismara
  • Carolina Loureiro

Hiraeth/Project 2020:

  • Portia Jones
  • Daniel John Carter