About us

Debate, Engage, Vote! took place from March to May 2014. A series of public debates by university students from the 28 European Member States culminated in a final European Cup debating tournament that took place in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, from 9 – 11 May 2014 as part of the European Youth Event.

Debate, Engage, Vote!

In a 2013 study, 12,927 young people aged 15 to 30 across Europe were asked about their intended participation in this year’s European elections and the reasons behind their decision to vote.

Three out of every five respondents (61%) felt that they were not sufficiently informed to vote while over half (56%) said that they won’t vote due to their belief that the European Parliament does not sufficiently deal with problems that concern them.

The Debate, Engage, Vote! project has been set up by the League of Young Voters in partnership with university societies and national debating bodies to help overcome these barriers to participation in the elections by:

·         Using debate as a tool to explore and critically examine themes and topics that are relevant to young people in the run up to this year’s European Elections.

·         Providing information and enabling young people to explore the stances and policies of the various political parties in the elections and the functions of the European Parliament.

·         Providing an international arena to meet and discuss shared experience and challenges with other young people, politicians and commentators from across Europe.

Project aims

We believe that promoting public political discussion and debate among young people will, in addition to creating a culture of dialogue and increasing the quality of political debate, enable young people to:

·         Be better informed about the European election process, what’s at stake and motivate them to get out and vote on election day;

·         Find the real causes of the current problems and challenges facing Europe and not to be swept away by populist, or ‘easy’, choices;

·         Formulate and express a reasoned refutation to arguments and ideologies that lack logical bases and are currently dominant in European countries, such as “migrants are stealing our jobs” or “the EU is trying to undermine my country”;

·         Become a critical and informed audience forcing politicians to use arguments with a logical and non-emotive structure and reduce reliance on scare-mongering tactics


League of Young Voters in Europe

The League of Young Voters in Europe is a politically neutral initiative that aims to amplify young people's concerns and expectations in the run-up to European elections. The purpose of the LYV is to address the ever-decreasing participation of young people in European elections.

The League exists both at the European level, engaging with European political parties and campaigns in Brussels, and also nationally and locally, supported by the European Youth Forum’s network of youth organisations.

The League of Young Voters in Europe pools the skills of its three founding organisations (the European Youth Forum, VoteWatch Europe, and the International Debate Education Association) and its partners that together are concerned with youth issues and political representation.


International Debate Education Association (IDEA)

IDEA is a global network of organizations that value debate as a way to give young people a voice.

IDEA is the world's leading provider of debate education, providing resources, training and events to educators and young people. IDEA works with schools and universities, debate organisations and community groups and partners with foundations, NGOs, businesses, and governments.

IDEA believes that debate promotes mutual understanding and informed citizenship around the world and that its work with young people leads to increased critical thinking and tolerance, enhanced cultural exchange and greater academic excellence.


European Youth Forum

The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, and youth-led, it represents 99 national youth councils and international youth organisations from across Europe.


European Youth Event

Over 10,000 young people aged 18 to 30 attended the first ever European Youth Event (EYE 2014) in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, from 9 May 2014.

The European Youth Event was a three-day event that gave young people a unique opportunity to meet European decision makers and discuss ‘Ideas for a better Europe’.

EYE 2014 featured high-level political debates, educational workshops and cultural activities focused on five core themes: youth unemployment, digital revolution, the future of the European Union, sustainability and European values.