Setting the voting age at 16 for European elections is pure symbol politics

4 May 2022

The Vivaldi coalition parties voted to lower the voting age for the European elections to 16. The N-VA was not in favour of this age lowering from the beginning: “We naturally welcome an interest in politics from an early age, but the right to vote is something that belongs in the coming-of-age package, with rights but also duties. We think that is only possible at the age of 18,” MPs Sander Loones and Wim Van der Donckt respond. “In addition, the reforms that would make a real difference for our young people are not forthcoming.”

The MPs speak of pure symbol politics. “It is therefore difficult to accept that this is intended to make our electoral system even more democratic, when it's coming from a government that itself ignored the results of the 2019 elections,” says Sander Loones. Wim Van der Donckt adds: “This government is also not making any effort towards the political renewal promised in the coalition agreement.”


“It would be better for the Vivaldi government to focus on the issues that really matter to the future of our young people,” say the MPs: “Then it would not only be about the weightier political renewal issues, but also about the reforms that need to be dealt with: pension reform, comprehensive labour market reforms and a derailed budget. Let us really take young people seriously by tackling these major challenges for their future. And not by restricting ourselves ‘Vivaldi-like’ to pure symbolism, while the invoice of billions of euros stacks up.”

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