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Join the EFF - College of Europe team! Because this time it's not enough to hope for a better future

by Kevin Kaiser (EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies - Manuel Marín Promotion)

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of populism. Populist parties that oppose the very idea of European integration are growing stronger all over the continent. According to some estimates they might even become the largest political group in the European Parliament after the elections in May 2019. While this should be a cause of concern for all those that see their future in a united Europe, there is also no reason to be overly pessimistic. The support for the European Union is still high in most member states.

The problem, however, is that many people that are in principle in favour of the EU do not participate in elections. This is especially true for young people (18-24) who are more positive about the EU than people aged 55 and more, but less likely to vote. At the last European Parliamentary elections, the turnout of people aged 18-24 was only 28% compared to 51% of people aged 55 and over.[1] The European Parliament has recognised this problem and initiated a campaign called “this time I’m voting”. The aim of the campaign is not to tell people who they should vote for but to encourage them to take part in the elections and to do so in a conscious and fully informed way.[2]

The EFF – College of Europe team has been founded to support this campaign. We have decided to establish the group as part of the European Future Forum (EFF). The EFF is a pan-European organisation that was created by students and young professionals to facilitate cooperation between civil society organisations and to develop projects in the fields of education and communication. What is more, the EFF is an official partner of the European Parliament’s election campaign.

We will promote the campaign in a variety of ways:

  • Together with the European Parliament we will organise an information event in Bruges, where a representative of the European Parliament’s liaison office in Belgium will explain the campaign to interested citizens.

  • Moreover, an important part of our activity will be to go out on the streets and talk to people. Since there is compulsory voting in Belgium we do not need to convince Belgian citizens to vote. However, we do need to convince them to take the European elections serious. European Parliamentary elections are often treated as second-order elections that are used to punish or reward the national governments. In addition, we will also use the opportunity to talk to the thousands of tourists from all over Europe that visit Bruges every day.

  • Finally, we want to go beyond Bruges and create material (information sheets, short videos etc.) that people and organisations in other countries can use to promote the campaign. Students at the College of Europe speak many different languages and have networks in their home countries with whom campaign material can be shared. We want to use these unique opportunities to maximise our impact and to reach as many people as possible.

If you want to contribute to one of these activities or if you have additional ideas on how to encourage people to vote, we would be happy to welcome you in our team.

“Because this time it's not enough to hope for a better future: this time each and every one of us must take responsibility for it too”.[3]

[1] Young people engaged but not voting?, (2015, December 14), retrieved from

[2] Why vote in the European elections in May 2019?, retrieved from

[3] Ibid.

The more, the merrier - Issue n. 2, 9 November 2018


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