EMY – European Mobile Youth
What is EMY?
EMY project (Empowerment of Mobile Youth in the EU) supports and enhances democratic participation of young EU citizens studying and living abroad, named European mobile youth, in their host EU countries, especially in connection with the forthcoming European Parliament elections in May 2019.
EMY is about bringing EU citizenship to life, in particular for young voters. EU citizenship is much more than a fictional concept or an imprint on our passports. Under the Treaty on the European Union all EU citizens have the right to vote, and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament in their home country or, alternatively, in any other country in the EU where they reside (‘host country’).
EMY is looking to identify the reasons why mobile EU citizens are not exercising their voting rights and to find ways to encourage more active engagement and participation. Earlier studies have singled out a number of potential barriers: electoral systems are not fully harmonised across the EU; there is a lack of timely and accessible information; there are technical and administrative issues that make it more difficult for this group to participate. Many EU citizens think that voter turnout for European elections would be higher if information provision and EU election campaigns were more effective, including reaching beyond national borders.
There is a sense that mobile EU citizens, as a group, have been widely neglected by EU member state governments. Governments need to step up their efforts to better support mobile EU citizens, e.g. by providing individual information letters, online registration for elections, and e-voting services. In addition, more information on political discourse and candidates in all EU member states would be desirable.
This is where EMY (Empowerment of Mobile Youth in the EU) comes into play:
- Young people are the most mobile group within the EU living in large numbers outside their home countries, especially for studying
- They do not fully exercise their rights to engage in political life in their host country
- They are – in general – least engaged in traditional political participation practices
EMY will concentrate, initially, on conducting pilots in two EU member states, Austria and Estonia. Austria has been the first EU member state to grant its citizens the right to vote in all elections (including EU) at the age of 16; Estonia is a pioneer in promoting the use of online voting (‘i‑voting’).
Who is benefiting from EMY?
- Mobile EU citizens aged 16-29 from other EU member states, who live and study, or work, in Austria and Estonia;
- Institutions and people who are dealing with mobile youth in Austria and Estonia;
- European, national and local policy makers and administrations dealing with elections, citizen engagement and education.
Populists are targeting young people with the narrative that their voices – and votes – do not matter in the EU. This project is setting out to debunk this myth.
- AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology (lead partner)
- Politikos (Austria NGO)
- eGA, e-Governance Academy, Estonia
- CEPA – Centre for Economics and Public Administration Ltd. UK
Duration:24 months, project start Feb 2019
What are the expected results?
Increased awareness of mobile youth in the EU about opportunities for engagement
Better understanding of their preferences and attitudes, including improved knowledge and understanding of the role of digital technologies
Recommendations for policymakers, authorities and social and political communities to better meet expectations, needs and preferences of European mobile youth for engagement at the EU and local level
Recommendations/specifications for sustainable engagement of mobile citizens in the EU