European Parliament and visit.brussels celebrate right to vote for young Belgians
The European Parliament and visit.brussels joined forces on Saturday to celebrate the right to vote for young people aged 16 and over. This right will be introduced in Belgium in 2024, meaning that around 900,000 young Belgians can vote for the first time.
This will be the first time that minors have been able to vote in the European Parliament elections. To celebrate, visit.brussels and the European Parliament, which have been campaigning for young people's right to vote since 2015, have set up an Urban Democracy Village at the entrance to the European Parliament. Young people can participate in skating and urban dance workshops, decorate voting booths with graffiti and visit the parliament.
"The graffiti voting booths represent the active participation of Brussels youth in the next European elections"
"The graffiti voting booths represent the active participation of Brussels youth in the next European elections and show the possibility for minors to register as voters," said Joeri Hamvas, spokesperson for the European Parliament. "Participants will be able to personalise them, allowing them to express what concerns them, what they consider important and what changes they would like to see by voting in 2024."
In the following days, the voting booths will travel to the 19 Brussels communes,. "The aim is to get young people thinking about democracy. The communes of Brussels-Capital, Forest, Woluwe, Ixelles and others have already decided to adopt a voting booth," Hamvas said.
Obliged to vote
Young people can vote in the 2024 European elections, but only if they are registered on the electoral roll. From 1 May, every 16-year-old can register as a voter online or at the town hall. Those who decide to register are then obliged to vote.
In Belgium, all nationals over 18 must participate in European, national and regional elections, even if they cannot go to the polling station. Failure to comply with this obligation is a criminal offence, although it is never actually prosecuted. It is no longer compulsory to vote in local and provincial council elections.
© BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT