Volt and Youth Politics

Article by: Stephanie H.

Visual by: Suman P.

Edited by: Alexis L.

As a Global Politics student, the importance of youth politics seems obvious. Yet for some governing bodies, promoting the involvement of newer generations in political discussions isn’t seen as a priority. However, as political polarisation increases worldwide, youths are increasingly expressing more opinions on major debates, demanding to be heard as victims and as solution-makers.

In light of the Brexit referendum in 2016, a group of young Europeans decided that a solution may be provided in the form of a pan-European political party. Now involving thousands of members located in 30 countries, their group, Volt, will run in the European Parliament elections next year. The group claims that they “are a movement” and aim to “deliver real reforms through the contribution of those who truly care about the future of European countries”.

Appealing to younger generations, the group’s political stance leans neither to the left nor to the right. The group claims that the lack of solutions in an “insecure and fast-changing world” stems from the “old divisions of left versus right and liberal versus conservative.” Appearing to promote a liberalist perspective, the power of the group seems to stem from unity and collective powers. The group advocates for the involvement of youths in today’s political debates and aims to promote equal opportunities, innovation, and efficiency.

I think that the group, being a progressive movement, may be a move in the right direction for achieving unity at a time of great political divide and instability. However, there is concern with the group’s lack of experience, and so the group appears to have a long way to go before reaching their goals and establishing Volt in the EU. With only 30% of the members having experience in a previous political party, to me, that concern seems fair. Volt is only registered in 10 countries and may find it even more difficult to field candidates. According to the Economist, the group will struggle to take votes from established pro-EU groups, such as green and liberal parties.

In my opinion, however, Volt may be what the EU needs, regardless of their inexperience. The intergovernmental organization (IGO), unable to deal with asymmetric shocks to the economy, economic stagnation, and unemployment, may need a fresh political party. As national parties are arguably powerless in the face of transnational issues such as migration, climate change, international conflict, and terrorism, the new political party may be the best way to unite European nations and come up with policies that will continue to benefit future generations. Volt may also be necessary to prove that the opinions of younger generations, with their arguably optimistic views, are indispensable and powerful, and that the promotion of youth politics is vital in order to create a better future.