Youth under pressure hybrid panel (04/07 2:45pm)

4th July, 14.45 – 16.45 CEST – (EESC premises, JDE 3252)

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) and the Civil Society Organisations´Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) are co-organising an event on analysing the current issues of youth civic spaces and creating common policy solutions for moving forward on them, and youth voting for the next European Elections. 


14.45 – Opening remarks and introduction by Mr Pietro Barbieri, Vice President of the Civil Society Organisation´s Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Christelle Savall Vice President of the Young European Federalists (JEF) 

15.00 – Sharing of realities – the perspectives and experiences of youth civil society across Europe,– European Youth Forum, invited youth organisations

15.30 – Institutional perspectives by MEP Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA), Alessia Valentino (European Commission – Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers – DG JUST), Christian Moos (EESC Rapporteur), Pia Slogar (Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe)

16.15 – Exchange among attendants and Q&A

16.45 – Closing


The event is a part of the Democracy under Pressure campaign of JEF Europe, which runs annually since 2006. It focuses on endangered democracies and speaking up for those who are silenced. The event is also part of JEF’s COYV project on the upcoming European Elections, and the difficulties of attracting to the ballot first time votes, especially given the shrinking of youth civic spaces in many European Countries. The seminar on 4th of July also follows on from two webinars on youth civic participation organised by the Civil Society Organisations´ Group of the EESC in 2021 and 2022.

The topic of civic space has been increasingly in the institutional agenda during the last few years. Moreover, the specific ways in which youth civil society has been impacted by the growing authoritarianism and anti-democratic tendencies characterising the last decade and a half has also been acknowledged by several institutions, such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and United Nations.

Youth organisations’ role in society includes serving as watchdogs and ringing the bell when the rule of law, democracy and human rights are undermined. They also serve as vehicles to ensure the voices of young people are adequately represented, and provide a platform for young citizens to both practice and foster democracy from early on. These reports showcase how youth civic spaces as a whole are currently under threat in Europe. Furthermore, they outline specific areas through which state actors fail to appropriately safeguard youth civil society or – in the worst cases – target youth organisations directly.

JEF Europe, besides its overall advocacy work to advance democracy in Europe and beyond, has been running its annual Democracy under Pressure campaign every March for 17 years. The campaign has tackled many issues of youth civic spaces and democracy and ring the alarm on the harmful tendencies of the past decade and a half.

This year’s edition has a clear undertone – democracy is not only under pressure, but under attack. And we all need to work together to protect it.

The panel will also be organised in the framework of Youth Vote (the COYV project), which tackles the challenges of youth engagement and participation (voting) in the next European Elections, and is developing tools to address it.

In parallel, the EESC has been very active promoting democracy and human rights, through its Ad hoc group on fundamental rights and the rule of law, numerous Opinions and the EESC resolution ´The long-lasting legacy of the European Year of Youth: mainstreaming and empowerment´, adopted in December 2022.

In the “Youth under pressure – safeguarding youth civil society” seminar, the Young European Federalists and the Civil Society Organisations´ Group of the EESC therefore aim at narrowing the too often unbridgeable gap between youth organisations directly impacted by the shrinking of civic spaces, and decision-makers and will tackle the challenges tied to youth voting.


The event will discuss tendencies as well as specific violations of youth civic spaces across Europe, and how this reflects on a lower youth turnout in European Elections. It will additionally look at existing institutional policy tools, such as the Recommendation on youth civic spaces of the Council of Europe, different reports of the European Parliament in relation to civic space and democracy or the Rule of Law Report of the European Commission, as well as the tools being developed in the context of the Youth Vote project. Through an exchange between youth and institutional representatives, potential solutions will be identified.

Participants can join either online via Teams or in person at the EESC. To sign up for the event, please fill in this form – by the 27th of June EOB for those participating in person.


Contact information




Christelle Savall
Vice President
Young European Federalists