Without decisive action, the allure of populism and apathy among mainstream voters’ risks turning next year’s European Parliament election into another stepping stone for anti-European nationalism. Throughout 2018, European Young Leaders have been seeking solutions to defend European values and inspire a fightback at the upcoming May election.
At their spring seminar in Warsaw, European Young Leaders listened to an inspirational message from Holocaust survivor Marian Turski on the dangers of taking freedom for granted. The autumn gathering in Malta debated concrete examples from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Malta of citizens and politicians thwarting populist ambitions by standing up for liberal values. It produced calls for more direct democracy and ethical social media campaigns.
This year’s European Young Leaders & Alumni meeting in Brussels drew on those debates with a focus on the EP elections, searching for means to persuade more Europeans to vote, and to vote for politicians that support a European future.
How can we convince Europeans to care for Europe and make sure that they vote in the upcoming elections? European Parliament election turnout has been in decline for decades. Although issues that top the charts in terms of citizen’s concerns are increasingly dealt with on the European level, such as the environment, migration and security, people still do not seem to find their way to the European ballot box.
Trust is a big-ticket issue, both in politics and in politicians. The populist right wing is currently stealing the march with their narrative that seeks to undermine the value of the EU.
This European Young Leaders & Alumni meeting will be the culmination of the young leaders’ year’s work on engaging citizens and making Europe matter in the lead up to the elections. During two seminars that were held this year, we’ve discussed political participation and civic empowerment directly with citizens and come up with practical ideas for a campaign that seeks to convince people to vote. This meeting will be an opportunity to discuss and align these campaign ideas with scientific, institutional and community leaders in a more intimate setting.
How do we counter populist tendencies and make sure that people will let their voice be heard for the future of Europe? How do we galvanize social movements and group behaviour to increase turnout and improve voting behaviour around a campaign on #EuropeMatters? What are the slogans, campaign messages and branding? How do we reach and access groups not traditionally represented and pursue them to vote? How do we actually convince people that Europe matters and that their vote matters?
The out-of-the-box perspective: behavioural science applied to political behaviour
Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz
The institutional perspective: progressing the existing ideas for a campaign that seeks to engage all Europeans
Vice-President of the European Commission
The two-fold campaign. Promoting a fact-based debate whilst convincing people to vote for the future of Europe
Founder and Director of Faktabaari and member of the EU’s High-Level Expert Group (HLGE) on Fake News and online disinformation
Co-Founder & Policy Lead of Volt
Whatever the question, the answer is always education. How can the European Young Leaders contribute to better education for all?
This session will follow up the education working group that was established in Malta during the You Decide session
In presence of
Xavier Prats Monné
Special Advisor of Teach For All, former European Commission Director-General for Health and Food Security
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe
Colombe Cahen-Salvador is the co-founder and the Policy Lead at Volt Europa, where she is responsible for the creation of policies and the political direction of the movement. Volt Europa is a pan-European movement now present in 31 countries, that aims to revolutionise the way politics is done on the European level. She previously worked for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, as a legal fellow in the International Strategic Litigation Unit. She has been awarded the inaugural Duke Law School’s International Law and Human Rights Fellowship, during which she worked at the OHCHR and at the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Iain is the Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz, Germany and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Department of Collective Behaviour. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behaviour, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from insect swarms to fish schools and primate groups. In recognition of his research, he has received the Searle Scholar Award, the Mohammed Dahleh Award, Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” Award, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.
Věra currently heads EU policy on justice, consumer rights and gender equality in the Juncker Commission. She is nominated as Vice-President responsible for values and transparency and in the upcoming Commission will deal with democracy, rule of law, disinformation, media pluralism and institutional reform of lead candidate system. Previously, she was the Czech Minister for Regional Development and Member of the Chamber of Deputies from 2013 to 2014. In 2019, Time magazine ranked Věra as one of the 100 most influential people of the year, due to her outstanding work on the development of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), new privacy rights and her work with tech platforms to fight illegal hate speech online.
Mikko Salo is the founder of Faktabaari (FactBar), chair of Finnish transparency NGO Avoin yhteiskunta ry and EU advisor. In 2014, he founded the fact-checking service Faktabaari, trying to bring accuracy to the European election debate. Faktabaari is a non-partisan journalistic service using social media for collecting and distributing factual information. Mikko joined the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and online disinformation that contributes to the development of a EU-level strategy on how to tackle the spreading of fake news. His current fact-checking media and information literacy work links to forthcoming European elections and empowering especially fact-checkers, teachers and researchers.
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