16-year-olds in Belgium can vote in European elections without registering

Belgians aged 16 and 17 will be able to vote in the June 2024 European elections without having to register first, the country's Council of Ministers decided on Friday.

Belgium already decided to lower the voting age for European elections to 16 in spring 2022. It was the fourth European country to do so, and Germany has since followed suit. 

However, the Belgian Constitutional Court objected to the requirement for underage voters to register in advance. The Council of Ministers decided on Friday to abolish the requirement. 

There will be no compulsory voting for minors, as is the case for adult voters in Belgium. While Belgians aged 16 or 17 will have the right to vote in the European Parliament elections, they can also choose not to vote.

Not all young people get involved in politics at this age, said Interior minister Annelies Verlinden when she announced the decision. "Those who want to and feel informed can take the opportunity. Other young people can wait a little longer." 

Verlinden called the decision "a very important signal to young people that their voice counts, that we want to listen to them and that they can be full partners in building our democracy".



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