Young people’s participation in public affairs and social life does not include only their right to vote and to be voted, but also activism in leisure time. The term „youth participation“ is anchored in the legislation (Act on Youth Work Support) as active involvement of youth in the process of planning, deciding and implementing of events and projects in the field of the societal and economic life (5.1).
The electoral turnout in European elections in 2019 was the lowest of all EU member states – 22,74%. Although young people's participation in the elections increased compared to 2014, their involvement in political participation, in general, has been low in the long run (5.2).
Young peopleˈs interests are represented by youth organizations, such as Youth Council of Slovakia or Regional Youth Councils, as well as, organizations representing university and secondary school students (5.3).
The greatest opportunity for young people to influence the development of legislation is during preparation of strategic documents by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic who is responsible for youth policy in Slovakia (5.4).
Slovakia does not have a binding document specifically dedicated to the topic of youth participation. The topic is elaborated in a separate chapter as a part of the Strategy of the Slovak Republic for Youth for the years 2014 – 2020 (5.5).
Support for the youth organizations is provided in particular via Programmes for Youth (Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the Slovak Republic) that ensure their sustainability by contributing to the development of their infrastructure and activities with multi-annual grants (5.6).
In addition to compulsory subjects in formal education, e.g. Civic education, School Councils are established at primary and secondary schools and Academic Senates at universities as platforms for the development of competences in active participation (5.7).
Raising awareness about political and civic participation is mostly a domain of non-governmental organizations. There have been several initiatives, campaigns or projects addressing the topics of democratic values, intercultural dialogue or youth participation in general (5.8). Guidelines for participation of young people in the policy-making processes and for transparent public communication with young people are part of the outputs of such projects. Its implementation, as well as e-participation targeted specifically at young people, is still at its beginnings and depends primarily on regional/local governments and their willingness and ability to put the youth agenda among their priorities (5.9).
Youth participation will be an integral part of the forthcoming national Youth Strategy and the new generation of Youth Programmes for 2021-2028 (5.10).