JEF partners with 8 NGOs to take on the 2019 European elections

, by TNF Editorial Board

JEF partners with 8 NGOs to take on the 2019 European elections

Political parties are preparing their campaigns for the crucial election year in 2019, but so is the civil society. “European Youth Together: Road to the Future”, a large-scale project operating in 14 countries as well as online, is ready to take centre stage in the world of European youth engagement next spring and beyond.

The project – co-funded by the European Commission – is led by the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe), with 8 other international and national NGOs involved as partners. It will foster debate ahead of the election but the project also has its sights on the long term. The range of activities falling under this major project’s umbrella includes an international activist bus tour, a major gathering of 2,000 young people in Paris, an online campaign, “training of trainers” for youth activism and more. Taken together, ‘European Youth Together’ plans to reach some 4,000 young people directly through live events, and another 350,000 through online campaigning.

Generating debate among young voters

With legions of young people in JEF and other movements ready for street and online campaigning, training events are equipping the leaders for the European election campaign. An international training in Macedonia is followed by a high-profile youth gathering for 2,000 people co-organised by Animafac and JEF France in Paris.

An online campaign fostering youth voter turnout, local debates in 14 European countries and a bus caravan are key features of the public-facing campaign. In parallel, JEF and other NGOs will run their own actions and advance their own distinctive campaign messages. Taken together, JEF, the lead partner in the European Youth Together project, is tackling the 2019 election campaign better-resourced than ever before.

Beyond the elections

After all, democracy and citizen engagement don’t end in elections – or rather, if there’s nothing happening in between, you can hardly expect a sudden spike in engagement every fifth May. In that spirit, the European Youth Together project continues beyond the elections to strengthen pan-European civil society in the long term.

The post-election period will include more training for young leaders, who will then pass on the knowledge by organising activities in fourteen countries. The core idea is local-level engagement and advocacy, but in the interest of all of Europe. At the same time, different NGOs’ own election follow-up actions are set to accompany the selection of Commissioners and the start of the new legislative term – with JEF watching politicians to ensure that the Spitzenkandidaten lead candidate system is respected in the selection of the Commission President, and that elected MEPs stick to their campaign promises.

Six months before the European elections, few would deny that in 2019 the stakes are higher than before. With the European Youth Together project, JEF and others are prepared to stand up to the challenge.

A full summary of the European Youth Together: Road to the Future project is available on the JEF-Europe website.

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