Fixing the Relationship between the EU and its Youth: The Case for the Creation of a European Youth Parliament

I have handed in my Bachelor’s thesis. I think my topic, the systematic exclusion from youth in politics, is highly relevant. And my proposal powerful. Since many of you will have neither the time nor the motivation to casually read it in its entirety, I have summarised the argument here.

I argue for the Creation of a European Youth Parliament (no, not the educational NGO – an actual Parliament). And I have several reasons to do so. First, let’s define what a European Youth Parliament is.

Criteria for a European Youth Parliament

I say that a European Youth Parliament that lives up to its name needs to fulfil three criteria: It needs to

  • be able to legitimately claim to represent the European youth,
  • have a meaningful influence on EU politics, and
  • be legally solidified so that it can’t be abolished easily.

Justifications: Reasons Why a European Youth Parliament is Good for the EU

There are (at least) four major trains of thought that can show why the introduction of a European Youth Parliament is good, necessary, and overdue.

  1. In order to break the cycle of political apathy, political representation of youth must be addressed. Participatory events as frequently held by EU institutions cannot provide for that, but political representation must actually be guaranteed. A European Youth Parliament can provide that and thereby help as an empowering tool of civic education.
  2. Young people in politics are continuously discriminated against. Traditional means of emancipation are not available to them, so we need to make sure that they are protected from a youth-hostile political environment. A European Youth Parliament can act as such a space.
  3. Young people are unequally equipped with lobbying resources. Whilst adults and the corporations they work for spend loads of money and personnel on influencing politicians, children themselves have no lobbying resources. Even though there are organisations that lobby on behalf of children and teenagers, children and teenagers themselves do not possess over an equal weight compared to adults. To balance that out, they should get their own institution – a European Youth Parliament.
  4. Adults are driving the planet into a catastrophe. They can make decisions with disastrous consequences that won’t affect them equally as the ones for whom those decisions are more incisive. Giving the upcoming generations a greater weight compared to the weight adult citizens have in political decisions is good and just. This can be achieved by a European Youth Parliament.

Has this sparked your interest? Do you happen to disagree with me? You are cordially invited to read my full thesis and let me know what you think!

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