As the European Union prepares for crucial parliamentary elections in June, the spotlight turns to the often overlooked yet immensely influential demographic: young voters. In the wake of numerous crises that have tested Europe’s resilience in recent years, the significance of this election cannot be overstated. It is a pivotal moment for the continent, and young people must seize the opportunity to make their voices heard.

The past decade has seen Europe grappling with challenges ranging from war, economic instability, the energy crisis, the refugee crisis, the ongoing climate emergency, and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises have underscored the interconnectedness of our world and the urgent need for decisive action at both national and supranational levels.

However, amidst these challenges lies an opportunity for change and progress. The European Parliament, as the only directly elected institution of the EU, plays a crucial role in shaping policies that affect the lives of over 440 million citizens across the continent. Yet, despite its significance, voter turnout among young people has historically been low.

This election presents an opportunity for young Europeans to reclaim their stake in shaping the future of the continent. The issues at stake—ranging from climate action and social justice to economic recovery and digital rights—are ones that directly impact the lives and futures of young people. By casting their ballots, young voters can ensure that their concerns are not only heard but also acted upon by those in power.

The youth demographic represents the future of Europe. By actively participating in the democratic process, young people can help build a more inclusive and forward-thinking society. Their perspectives, energy, and innovative ideas are vital assets in addressing the complex challenges that lie ahead.

It’s crucial to recognize that abstaining from voting does not equate to apathy—it simply cedes power to others to make decisions on behalf of young people. Now more than ever, Europe needs the fresh perspectives and bold visions that young voters bring to the table.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The upcoming European elections provide a platform for young people to be that change—to shape the future they want to inherit. Let us not allow others to speak for us; let us speak for ourselves, for our future, and for the future of Europe. Every vote counts, and the time to act is now.