Elections 2024: Football tournament encourages young people to vote

A football tournament for 16- to 18-year-olds was held on Saturday afternoon in the Brussels district of Forest, organised by the European Parliament and Belgian footballer Amadou Onana. The event aimed to encourage young people to vote in the upcoming European elections.

More than two years ago, Belgium announced that it would extend the right to vote for the European Parliament, lowering the voting age from 16 to 18. Last year, it was confirmed that some 270,000 16- and 17-year-olds would be allowed to vote in the upcoming elections. In March, a court ruled that voting among this group would in fact be compulsory, as it is for all adults. However, the Justice minister and public prosecutor's office said minors would not be prosecuted if they did not vote. 

It is a confusing situation for many young people, especially as it is the first time they have had the chance to vote. The European Parliament organised the tournament on Saturday to introduce young people to democratic processes: players had to vote on the type of tournament they wanted to participate in, and several information stands were set up next to the pitch. 

Red Devil and Everton player Amadou Onana was also involved as an ambassador for the democratic process and the duty to vote. “If these young people don't always have the impression of being listened to, 9 June is the time for them to express their needs and aspirations through the vote," he said. "All the more so at the European level, because Europe controls so many things in our daily lives."


Amadou Onana and the European Parliament organise a football tournament for young people to draw attention to the importance of voting in the European elections © BELGA PHOTO LOU LAMPAERT

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