Online platforms for e-participation (September 2019)
Internet and social media constitute a great resource for political and social engagement. Indeed an increasing number of young Europeans make use of these instruments to get informed about social and political issues, express their opinions and interact with decision-makers.
EU Member States have acknowledged the potential of new technologies to break down the distance between young citizens and policy-makers, and to allow young people to express their opinions. This is why Member States have committed to foster e-participation possibilities especially for young people.
In about one third of the participating countries, national e-platforms dedicated to facilitating youth participation have been established, either by public authorities or as joint projects between them and civil society organisations. These are websites that offer the possibility to discuss ideas, participate in online consultations, and sometimes interact directly with policy-makers.
These national online platforms also play an important role in supporting users’ ability to discern the quality of information available online and exercise their critical judgement. For example, the website ‘Welcome to my tribe’ of the French Community of Belgium proposes live chats with experts on various subjects so as to provide young people with reliable information. In Slovenia, the key result of the project 'Initiative.si: Youth for a better Society' has been the creation of an online portal enabling young users to promote their initiatives.
While the map illustrates the situation at national level, local online platform also exist in some countries – including in some where national e-platform has not been developed. For instance, in Spain several municipalities have set up online tools to consult young people on political and civic issues.