Youth Debate on European Elections
by Max Rozenburg
"The last European parliamentary election results show that the youngest voters are the least likely to vote."
Time to engage the youngsters: day two of the Forum on European Culture kicked off with a debate-session for the European youth.
Four teams of young debaters tackled a variety of topics. The age of the debaters ranged from thirteen to eighteen, which also happens to be the difference between giggly “I forgot what I wanted to say”-s and well-rehearsed rhetoric – the difference between hot pants and neatly ironed dress-shirts.
No one seemed to mind the oxymoronic nature of the first question (on mandatory, international volunteer-work for high-school students), but the second debate (about mandatory internship-placing for European youth) did elicit an entirely justified “are we only here to discuss unpaid child-labour?”
On to more interesting questions: ‘should the European Commission be able to take punitive measures against nation-states for discrimination?’ The tension was palpable: accusations of “cultural tunnel vision” were eagerly thrown around, and a heartfelt “what have Eastern Europeans ever done for us” took everyone – including the jury – by surprise. Luckily ‘Team 3’ sacrificed their closing statement to ensure their fellow debaters that “everyone did very well.”
After the last round (should the president of the European Commission be directly elected by the European people?) the debaters left to enjoy their hard-earned lunch. Young people may be unlikely to vote, but at least they seem to give a shit.