At its today’s sitting. the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) approved Estonia’s positions for the meeting of the EU Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council. The Committee believes that young people should be more involved in politics and therefore young people aged 16 and 17 should have the right to vote in elections to the Riigikogu and the European Parliament.
Member of the European Union Affairs Committee Kristo Enn Vaga underlined that the EU initiatives had a long-term impact, so it was reasonable that young people, whom the adopted decisions would influence, should also have a say in shaping them. “Greater involvement of young people in EU decision-making through lowering the voting age will give us a more innovative and bold Union in the future, which will, for example, promote economic growth through sustainable development and greater digitalisation,” he said.
Vaga noted that lowering the voting age for the European Parliament elections was much easier, as it only required amending an Act, while lowering the voting age for the Riigikogu elections required changing the Constitution.
According to Estonia’s position, it is important to support the civic participation of all young people and to protect their rights at local, national and EU level. Giving the young people aged 16 and 17 the right to take part in the Riigikogu and European Parliament elections would help strengthen the role of young people in decision-making process.
Estonia also considers it important to systematically involve young people from different backgrounds in policy-making. It is also pointed out in Estonia’s position that when assessing the impact of new EU initiatives, young people’s interest groups should be considered and efforts should be made to ensure that the instruments of better policy-making take into account the widest possible target group, including young people with fewer opportunities.
The European Union Affairs Committee decided to approve Estonia’s positions as amended for the meeting of the council of education and youth ministers in Brussels on Thursday. The Committee added to the positions the principle that a consensus will be sought at national level to allow young people to elect members of the European Parliament in addition to members of the Riigikogu.
Head of EU coordination at the Ministry of Education and Research Ülle Kurvits participated in the discussion of this agenda item.
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!