Time to claim our elections!

The European Parliament elections are rapidly closing in on us and we have all the possibilities in the world to make them ours! We, young people, are a huge part of the EU population so what are we if not a factor of power? The question is though, do we want this power and for what?

I say yes, we need a functioning European cooperation for more mobility, more wellbeing and more opportunities for young people. We need a democratic EU, where we – the citizens – have a say and where the decisions are made in a transparent way. We should claim our elections to shape the society we live in and make sure we have a say in questions that affect our everyday life. To make a proper choice on who to vote for or whether or not to vote at all, you need valid information. But the amount of information is huge!

What I have found quite helpful for making an informed choice is using a vote-match tool. It gives you a set of questions and after answering them you see which candidate shares your opinions and values the most. This same exercise has been done for the sitting members of the European Parliament on MyVote2014. After answering how you would have voted on issues the European Parliament has dealt with lately the tool will match you up with the MEPs that voted in your interest concerning these questions. This is a great way to get to know the sitting members of the European Parliament, their parties and the decisions they make.

Another thing that can help you decide on how to vote is to read the election manifestos of the political parties.  Analyses of the manifestos from a youth perspective will be published on the website of the League of Young Voters. There you can also post the issue you think is the most important to share with politicians and candidates, follow political debates or find out what is happening in your country concerning the elections.

Still, the most important point for us, as young people, would be to demonstrate our strength, flex our muscles. We have to break the vicious circle of politicians not talking about issues important to us, because we do not vote and us feeling more and more excluded when politicians are not taking our opinions into account. We need to vote and we need to have a loud voice!