Marilyn Neven, International IDEA Programme Manager, speaks on importance of youth engagement in elections. Photo credit: International IDEA | Jean-Charles de Cordes
On the occasion of the European Parliament Elections 2019, the International IDEA Europe Office participated in a public open-air event organized by the European Parliament (EP), Sunday evening 26 May 2019, on the EP Esplanade in Brussels.
Together with Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE) Election Observation, we shared a large stand just in front of the European Parliament. This gave a good opportunity for International IDEA’s Brussels staff to interact directly with many interested European citizens and showcase the work of the Institute, especially in relation to democracy in the EU.
International IDEA also took part as the main co-organizer in a debate on ”Leave no young person behind: youth and the EP 2019 elections”. Marilyn Neven, as keynote speaker, introduced the topic in the wider context of EU democracy and youth participation, and presented International IDEA’s work in the field of youth and elections, in particular the newly released Discussion Paper "Engaging young people and women in European Parliament elections". A lively debate attended by a sizeable audience took place with representatives from AEGEE (European Students' Forum), the European Youth Forum, AGE Platform Europe, Democracy International and Election Watch. Many Brussels-based citizens who seldom participate in democracy debates found an opportunity to do so at the heart of the EU.
A large number of International IDEA publications and gadgets were disseminated, which prompted queries on democracy in Europe, out-of-country voting and the state of global democracy. The spontaneous discussions were a sign of citizens' genuine interest in the work of International IDEA.