Study on political participation of young people

Political participation today is taking place within the context of a shrinking space for civil society, rapid digitalisation, advancement of populist ideologies, increased inequalities, and a rise of global youth movements. Political participation has many diverse forms - it can be conventional and unconventional, including activities such as voting, being members of political parties, serving on a local youth council, engaging through a youth organisation, or taking part in online political activism, boycotts or a protest movement.

In 2019 the EU-Council of Europe youth partnership held a symposium “The future of young people’s political participation: questions, challenges and opportunities”, with more than 120 participants from across Europe, to explore the landscape of young people’s political participation in a changing world and produce knowledge relating to the observed and anticipated trends, their reasons and consequences.

The knowledge gathered and produced throughout 2019 ahead of and as a follow up to Symposium includes: the literature review on political participation, young people’s Visions of the Future, the Compendium of practices, report from the Symposium, videos and animated videos, infographics and webinars. In order to build up on the wealth of the knowledge and resources already available, the EU-Council of Europe youth partnership will continue working on this topic through a new research study, with the aim to:

  • contribute to a better understanding of the phenomena linked to youth political participation, identified at the 2019 Symposium,
  • formulate and disseminate the implications for all relevant actors, including those in youth work, youth policy, education etc.

The study aims to examine the following questions:

  • What is the current state of play when it comes to youth political participation?
  • How do young people engage in politics and at which levels? What type of political participation, both conventional and unconventional are most popular?
  • What are the main themes/topics or areas of youth political participation today (e.g. gender activism, climate crisis, social inclusion)
  • What is the future of youth political participation?