The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly have recommended to its member states that lowering the voting age would boost participation and invigorate politics.

This follows lobbying from young people across Europe, as previously reported by the Votes at 16 Coalition here.

Miloš Aligrudić, a Serbian representative who authored the report recommending that the Parliamentary Assembly back lowering the voting age in Europe said: “The increasingly low turn-out at elections throughout Europe shows that something must be done to involve more of society in the election process. By taking this step, young people would feel more included and are more likely to be engaged in the political process as they grow older.”

This expands democracy and makes politics in general more representative. Significant demographic changes in Europe could lead to the increasing marginalisation of young people in the political process, which could easily destabilise democracy at a time when social cohesion is more important than ever.”

The majority of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states currently have 18 as the minimum voting age. In 2007 Austria became the first to lower the age to 16 for all municipal, state and national elections. German länder, one Swiss canton and three British Crown Dependencies also permit voting at 16.

The Votes at 16 Coalition will continue to work in partnership with the European Youth Forum and its members to lead a youth-led pan European campaign to achieve votes at 16 across Europe.