Politics closer to the people: our EU: The mobilization of citizens engagement

The current rise of national political parties that demand a separation of its national governments from the EU proves that a wave of anti-EU sentiments is sweeping through Europe. Concerning citizens’ participation in the European Parliamentary elections, the average turnout across the European Union has sunken from almost 62 percent in 1979 to less than 43 percent in 2014. When a study of the Eurobarometer asked us – EU citizens – whether we feel as such, the results show that only 20 percent replied with a definite yes, while 37 percent would answer the question with a no. There is reason to assume that anti-EU sentiments and the feeling of disconnectedness from European politics go hand in hand. Thus, one of four working groups at Student Forum’s Conference in April 2019 is dedicated to providing creative approaches to the question: how and with which strategies can the European Union create a stronger bond between European citizens and European politics? It is time and of utmost importance for EU citizens to understand that their political engagement is the driving force of successful political development. Similarly, Brussel’s politics have to become the outcome of inclusive decision-making and a mutually agreed upon result of citizen’s dialogue. In the end, it is citizen’s knowledge of and engagement with their respective political institutions that is a key aspect of a functioning democracy. The establishment of the EU has brought on of the longest periods of stability in European history, allowing people to benefit from a culturally diverse continent in all areas of life: work, education, livelihood, and cultural and social choices. However, with younger generations losing sight of the importance of the European Union, trust in the EU as well as the feeling of connectedness to the European Union amongst EU citizens become increasingly important for a continuous bright future of Europe.