Digital Democracy Day 2017 - Rejuvenating Europe: Opportunities in the Digital World

  1. The third annual Digital Democracy Day - Rejuvenating Europe: Opportunities in the Digital World – was organised in the framework of the Erasmus+ project DEEP-linking Youth, a partnership between ECAS and six other organisations.
  2. The aim of the conference was to identify the most common challenges to youth participation in European policy-making and propose several concrete solutions to them by using digital tools.
  3. Villu Varjas, Counsellor for Interinstitutional Relations at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU, opened the event. In his keynote speech, he addressed the main challenges and achievements experienced by Estonia in implementing online e-participation methods in order to give a greater voice to young people.
  4. According to Mr. Varjas, providing simple means of participation does not automatically make the political process more attractive to young people, but it is necessary to promote more participatory behaviour among young people at both European and local level.
  5. He concluded by highlighting the potential of digital tools in making not only our lives, but also participation in the decision-making process, simpler and more efficient.
  6. Maria Freitas, Policy Adviser at FEPS, presented the findings of research conducted by FEPS on the engagement of Millennials in the political ecosystem.
  7. Although a lack of trust in the political system emerged from the research, Millennials are an optimistic generation and they are ready to engage and voice their opinions on the main issues society is facing.
  8. Isabelle Dochy presented Generation What?, a project launched by the European Broadcasting Union in order to engage with young people to find out what Millennials think.
  9. Despite the limited trust in the education system, politics and media, the project revealed that European youth expect better times in the future and want to take part in society.
  10. Roslyn Fuller from the Solonian Democracy Institute, explored the way we do politics today and how we can foster participation in policy-making among young people by adopting more updated forms of engagement in line with the new digital era.
  11. Addressing young people with a different political marketing strategy, simplifying voter registration procedures and paying for participation were among the solutions proposed by Ms Fuller to promote youth participation.
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