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The Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Center for American Progress have launched a transatlantic initiative known as the “Millennial Dialogue”to engage with and better understand the priorities and values narrative of those aged between 15 and 34. With the first phase complete, on 24th February, FEPS presented the early findings to the policymaking public in Brussels. This was followed by commentary from key political players and a questions and answers session with the press and the Brussels public.
Discussion with Brando Benifei, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Intergroup on Youth Affairs (Italy); Anne Johnson, Executive Director, Generation Progress (US); and David Lewis, Founder and CEO, Audiencenet (UK).
As established parties falter when attracting younger voters, some assume that there is a lack of interest in politics among young people. However, there is evidence of growing activism in non-party political movements and other civil society organisations. As such, there is a gap in the broader understanding of this demographic among political practitioners and a need to re-engage.
Certain recent campaigns, such as that of President Obama in the USA have had some success; while other movements like the Indignados and the Occupy Movement have emerged as alternative points of political engagement. The Millennial Dialogue seeks to address these challenges and provide innovative approaches to engaging with young people.
This began with a large international survey on millennial values, using innovative and sophisticated methodologies to gain insights often absent from political discourse. This research aims to provide a basis for a comprehensive millennial policy agenda, one that interacts with young people rather than accepting their loss from the political process.
Some excerpts from the survey:
Interest in politics:
7% of Polish 15-17 year olds said they were interested in politics. 18% of Germans of the same age showed interest while none of the Italians did.
Influence of young people:
64% of young Germans think that most politicians largely ignore the views of younger people.
Gender and sexual politics:
75% of Polish millennials believe in the importance of equality in gender and sexual-orientation in society and feel that politicians have a duty to promote such equality.