Should the voting age for European Parliament elections be lowered to 16 throughout the EU?


EU Member States are free to set their minimum voting age for European elections. The voting age in the EU varies from country to country. Austria, Belgium (currently contested), Germany and Malta set this age at 16 and Greece at 17. In the remaining Member States, the age limit is set at 18. (1.) Discussions about lowering the voting age are ongoing in various Member States. The EU can facilitate this discussion.

In May 2022, The European Parliament tabled a proposal to harmonise the age for voting at 16 across the EU (with exceptions allowed) to ensure equality and avoid discrimination. (1.)


Young people should have more say in politics and the perspectives of future generations should be represented in politics. 16-17 years olds participate in elections more actively than, for example, 18-24 years olds. (2.) At a younger age, voters have less attachment to certain political parties and are more sensitive to political and social trends, thus forcing politicians to notice and react to the changes in society. (3.)


People at 16 years of age may not have sufficient competencies for responsible voting since they can be "more easily influenced by their environment and more prone to impulsive behaviour”. (4.)


  3. Young trendsetters: How young voters fuel electoral volatility - ScienceDirect