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Why Slovenian youth doesnt care about EP elections

07/06/2014

This was THE question for the past two weeks. Even before the 25th of May, the day of elections for the European Parliament, this question was asked frequently. To the candidates, in the media and mostly among young, active citizens in Slovenia. We cannot understand why the voter turnout was so low, especially among young people. The generation that lives in the era of internet, social media and severe problems facing the nation, is becoming more and more apathetic.

For me, one thing is clear. Young people don’t vote because the candidates know that young people will not vote, so they base their campaigns and programs for older people – the active voters. Why would they refer the programs to young people, if they do not vote? That, I get. But the question remains. Whose fault is it? The candidates that do not include young people in a sufficient amount, or the young non-voters that do not feel the need to vote because they are not included in the programs? Decide for yourself, what was first. The Chicken or the Egg?

But the consequences of this kind of behavior are severe. Not only that the voting body is becoming older and older, we are losing young, prosper generations that will soon be adults – also passive. In a few decades, the whole nation will not vote – because they will be used to it from younger age.  And along with this, the EU is becoming more and more distant – despite the fact that it is in Brussels and Strasbourg all the time. Despite all the programs, schemes and exchanges that the EU offers, young people still do not use them as much as they could. In their heads, the EU is more or less connected with negative things – the increase in prices with the introduction of Euro, numerous scandals in the institutions, and the before mentioned distance – there is no real effect of the EU laws and policies. If there is, young people rarely associate it with the EU.

But for me, it is crystal clear that the EU is not so distant and that it affects my ever day life. I am able to travel freely in the Schengen, I don’t have to exchange money all the time, I can go on numerous exchanges and trainings. And I can, influence the politics on EU level. By exercising one of my fundamental rights, the right to vote. We are all very loud when some of the other rights are not exercised correctly, but when it comes to reading a few programs and taking a Sunday walk to vote, we are quiet. Because no one feels the immediate effect of not-voting. For now.

Kaja Dekleva

Vice President of MSS (Mladinski svet Slovenije)


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