Young people who will be 16 years of age or older at the next European elections can register from this Monday 1 May, on an online platform, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden announced on Friday.
The law of 1 June, which makes Belgium the fourth EU country (after Malta, Germany and Austria) to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to participate in the European Parliament elections, will come into effect on 1 May.
Some 280,000 young people in Belgium will therefore have the opportunity to make their voices heard at the EU level next year, according to Verlinden.
But unlike adult citizens who are automatically registered to vote, young people wishing to vote must register in advance. This registration can be done either by means of a form to be handed into the commune or on the online platform.
The communes will process the applications and ensure that young people are registered on the voters’ lists. Registered young people will then be subject to the obligation to vote and therefore required to go to the polls to vote in the European elections.
The date of this election has yet to be agreed between the 27 Member States, but the expected period is thought to be around 6-9 June 2024.
“Decisions taken at this level of power often relate to issues that concern young people and have a significant impact on their future, such as mobility and climate. That is why it is interesting to give them a voice on these issues,” said Minister Verlinden.