European Youth: Participation in Democratic Life

Flash Eurobarometer – European Youth: Participation in Democratic Life

The survey provides an analysis of the young European citizens’ social and democratic participation in society. It enquires about participation in organisations, such as sports clubs, NGOs or political parties and in political elections, including the European Parliament elections of 2014.

The survey examined several issues.


– Young people’s involvement in a range of groups and clubs such as sports clubs, youth organisations and cultural organisations.

The findings are compared with those from the same question which was previously asked in a Flash Eurobarometer survey “Youth on the Move” (No 319a) conducted in early 2011. According to the results, the involvement in a sports club is the most popular activity among young people (35%).


– Young people’s participation in political elections at the local, regional or national level,

The results are again compared with those from “Youth on the Move” (No 319a): 73% of respondents who were old enough to do so have voted in a political election at the local, regional or national level in the past three years.


– Young EU citizen’s awareness and intended participation in forthcoming European elections.

79% of respondents would not consider standing as a candidate; 30% say probably not and 49% say certainly not. Almost one in five (19%) says that they would consider it. There is considerable variation in the findings by country.


– Respondents’ awareness of how the members of the European Parliament are elected

47% of respondents is aware of how MPs are elected.


– Probability of voting in the European elections in 2014 and reasons behind participation

Approximately two thirds of respondents (64%) say that they are ‘likely’ to vote in the next European elections. A big majority (94%) of respondents state that their belief in democracy is an important reason why they are likely to vote in the 2014 European elections; 90% respondents mention their belief that Europe and European elections are important, while approximately four in five (83%) say that they believe voting is the right way to influence political decision-making. Slightly less than three quarters of respondents (72%) say their belief that voting is a moral obligation affects their position, while seven in ten (70%) simply say that they always vote.

Finally, 64% of those who are not likely to vote in the 2014 European elections justify their decision with their belief that their vote would not change anything.


The survey was commissioned by the European commission and done in April 2013 among 13 000 young people aged 15 to 30 in the 27 EU Member States and 500 young people in Croatia.


Find out more: