Empowering Europe’s Future: Unleashing the Potential of Young Citizens with Step Up for Europe

26 April 2024



In a time marked by uncertainty and upheaval, Europe stands at a crossroads. Challenges like economic downturns, refugee crises, and the rise of populism threaten the very fabric of our continent. But amidst these trials, there lies an opportunity—an opportunity for young citizens to rise, to lead, and to shape the destiny of Europe. This is the essence of the ‘Step Up for Europe’ campaign, a rallying cry to ignite the passion and activism of the next generation.

See all the elections taking place in Europe in the year of 2024 with their projections at the end of this blog!

Why Does Youth Participation Matter?

The ‘Step Up for Europe’ campaign is more than just a call to vote; it’s a call to action. With multiple elections in the coming months for countries such as Belgium, Austria, Iceland, Lithuania, Ireland and Malta amongst others, the campaign acknowledges and recognises that the future of Europe hinges on the engagement of its youth. With their fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and boundless energy, young citizens possess the power to drive positive change and steer Europe towards a brighter tomorrow.

Participating in democratic elections is not merely a civic duty – it’s an opportunity for young people to assert their influence, shape their communities, and safeguard their rights. By casting their votes, young voters send a powerful message to policymakers: we demand representation, accountability, and action on the issues that matter most to us.

Moreover, voting is a tangible way for young citizens to exercise their agency and claim their stake in the democratic process. It empowers them to voice their concerns, advocate for their interests, and hold elected officials accountable for their actions. In a world where many feel disenfranchised or disconnected from politics, voting provides a sense of agency and efficacy, reaffirming the principle that every voice matters and every vote counts.

However, the importance of youth participation extends beyond the act of voting itself. It’s about fostering a culture of civic engagement and democratic citizenship—a culture where young people are actively involved in the political process, from grassroots activism to community organising. By engaging in debates, attending town halls, and volunteering for campaigns, young citizens not only amplify their voices but also enrich the democratic discourse, bringing new perspectives and ideas to the table.


At JCI Europe, we are committed to encouraging and empowering young citizens to become active catalysts for positive change through the ‘Step Up for Europe’ campaign. We believe that by harnessing the collective power of our youth, we can overcome any obstacle and forge a path towards a more prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Europe.

Join us in our mission to inspire, mobilise, and empower young leaders across the continent. Hand in hand, let’s seize this moment to shape the future of Europe and ensure that our voices are heard, our dreams are realised, and our legacy endures for generations to come.

Visit www.stepupforeurope.eu to learn more about how you can be part of this transformative movement.

Together, we can step up for Europe and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

#stepupforeurope #letsmakeadifference #spreadthemessage


The 2024 European Parliament election, set to take place from 6 to 9 June 2024, marks a significant moment as the first election following Brexit and the tenth since the inception of direct elections in 1979.

During this period, from 6th to 9th June, populist and “anti-European” factions are poised for substantial gains across the 27-nation bloc, potentially tilting the balance of the parliament notably towards the right and causing disruptions to key aspects of the EU’s agenda. Projections indicate that radical right parties are likely to secure first-place finishes in nine countries, including Austria, France, and Poland, and land in second or third position in an additional nine, such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden.

The outcome remains uncertain regarding whether a coalition of centre-right, conservative, and radical right MEPs will achieve a numerical majority. Moreover, even if such a majority were to form, its efficacy in governance remains uncertain. Nevertheless, in theory, the next parliament could impede, or slow down legislation pertaining to Europe’s green deal and adopt a firmer stance on various aspects of EU sovereignty, including migration, enlargement, and support for Ukraine.


Population: 11.7M
Election(s): Chamber of Representatives
Date(s): June 9

Federal elections are scheduled to be held in Belgium on 9 June 2024. The 150 members of the Chamber of Representatives will be elected for a five-year term. European and regional elections are scheduled to take place on the same day.


Population: 10.2M
Election(s): Assembly of the Republic
Date(s): March 10

Portugal’s centre-right Democratic Alliance has managed to unseat the Socialist government by the narrowest of margins in a snap election. This electoral shake-up coincided with a notable surge in support for the far-right Chega party. Led by Luís Montenegro, the alliance, comprising the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and two smaller conservative parties, is now poised to embark on forming a minority government. However, Montenegro faces a challenging arithmetic as the numbers aren’t quite in his favour. Despite Montenegro’s consistent stance against any collaboration with Chega, internal pressures within his own party may push him towards exploring potential alliances to secure a centre-right administration.


Population: 9.5M
Election(s): Chamber of Representatives
Date(s): Feb. 25

The Belarusian parliamentary elections for 2024 were held on February 25, 2024. During this election, Belarusians voted to elect 110 deputies to the lower house of parliament, known as the House of Representatives. Additionally, approximately 12,000 representatives were chosen for local councils. The election took place amidst significant political tensions and concerns about its fairness and democratic nature.


Population: 9.0M
Election(s): National Council
Date(s): Expected on Sept. 29

Since late 2022, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) has maintained a consistent lead in the polls and is poised to secure 27% of the vote. This places them ahead of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) at 23% and the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) at 22%. Following the fallout of the 2019 Ibiza scandal, the FPÖ has managed to regain the trust of far-right voters through its critique of Covid lockdowns and EU sanctions on Russia. As a result, the party is now positioned to potentially produce Austria’s next chancellor, marking one of the most significant electoral events in Europe this year. Austria is scheduled to hold legislative elections by autumn 2024, where voters will elect the 28th National Council, the lower house of Austria’s bicameral parliament.


Population: 4.0M
Election(s): Presidency, Parliament
Date(s): Presidential election expected in December; date of parliamentary elections TBD

Before 22 September (most likely in spring for parliamentary elections) and December (for presidential elections), current polls indicate that the ruling center-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is poised to once again secure the top position, garnering approximately 32% of the national vote. They are trailed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at 19%, with a trio of smaller parties, including We Can!, Most, and DPMS, collectively holding about 10%. In the upcoming presidential race later in the year, the competition is primarily between the SDP-affiliated incumbent, Zoran Milanović, and Andrej Plenković of the HDZ, who has served as the country’s prime minister since 2016.


Population: 0.38M
Election(s): Presidency
Date(s): June 1

Five candidates have so far declared they will run for election to Iceland’s presidency after the incumbent, former history professor Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, said he would seek a third term. They include a former judge, a rescue worker and an investor, and have until 26 April to collect at least 1,500 voter signatures to make it to the ballot. Several other candidates, including actor, comedian and former Reykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr, have said they may enter the race. The role is largely ceremonial, acting as a guarantor of the constitution and national unity, although Icelandic presidents have in the past refused to sign unpopular legislation.


Population: 19.7M
Election(s): Presidency, Senate, Chamber of Deputies
Date(s): expected November – December

With local, parliamentary, and presidential elections all slated before the year’s end, 2024 emerges as a pivotal electoral juncture, especially with the steady ascent of support for the far-right Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR). Recent polls indicate significant traction for this anti-establishment, pro-Russian party, which surged onto the political scene in 2020 with a 9% share and now stands to potentially capture 19% of the vote in the parliamentary election. This puts them on par with the Liberal Party (PNL), potentially disrupting the traditional dominance of the centre-right party and the Social Democrats (PSD), who have held a coalition government for the past decade. In the presidential race, a PSD candidate, Mircea Geoană, currently holds the lead, but AUR leader George Simion poses a formidable challenge.


Population: 2.7M
Election(s): Presidency, Seimas
Date(s): presidential election on May 12; parliamentary elections on Oct. 13

12-26 May: President Gitanas Nauseda, who won 66% in the 2019 runoff, will be seeking a second five-year term and is the frontrunner in this year’s elections. The independent’s main challenger will be his centre-right former opponent Ingrida Simonyte, who has since become prime minister. The country has been a staunch Ukraine supporter, and that stance is not expected to change regardless of who wins. Lithuania will also hold parliamentary elections later in the year.


Population: 5M
Election(s): Presidency
Date(s): 1st of June

Presidential elections are due to be held in Iceland on 1 June 2024. Incumbent president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has announced he will not be seeking a third term.


Population: 5.5M
Election(s): Presidency
Date(s): Jan. 28 – Feb. 11.

Presidential elections were held in Finland on 28 January 2024, with a second round held on 11 February. Voters elected a president of the Republic for a six-year term. Incumbent president Sauli Niinistö was term-limited and ineligible to run for re-election, having served the maximum two terms, ensuring the president elected would be the country’s thirteenth. New president of Finland is Alexander Stubb.


Population: 0.5M
Election(s): Local council elections
Date(s): 8th of June

Local council elections are to be held in Malta and Gozo on the 8 June 2024, in tandem with the European Parliament Elections. This shall be the second time that all local councils of Malta are elected simultaneously in a single election, following the 2015 reform abolishing the old system of half-council elections


Population: 3.35M
Election(s): Presidency
Date(s): TBD

Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Moldova in autumn 2024. In addition, a referendum on whether Moldova should join the EU is to be held on the same day as the presidential election.


Population: 40.4M
Election(s): Local Elections
Date(s): 7th of April

Local elections will be held in Poland on 7 April 2024 to elect members for all 16 regional assemblies, 380 county councils, and 2477 municipal councils, mayors of all municipalities and cities, as well as 18 district councils of Warsaw. The previous elections saw the Law and Justice party win the most seats in regional assemblies and take control in 8 of them.


Population: 5.7M
Election(s): Presidency
Date(s): March and April

Presidential elections are being held in Slovakia in March and April 2024. Incumbent president Zuzana Čaputová announced in June 2023 that she would not run for a second term. The first round was held on 23 March and since no candidate received more than half of the votes, a second round featuring the two candidates with the highest number of votes: Ivan Korčok and Peter Pellegrini, took take place on 6 April. New president of Slovakia is Peter Pellegrini.


Population: 0.03M
Election(s): Grand and General Council
Date(s): Expected in December

The Grand and General Council, composed of 60 members, operates on a proportional representation system, with seat allocation determined by the d’Hondt method. The electoral threshold is calculated by multiplying the number of participating parties by 0.4, capped at a maximum threshold of 3.5%.

In the event that no party secures a majority, or if the two largest parties fail to form a coalition government within thirty days following the elections, a runoff election will ensue. This runoff will feature the two most popular coalitions, with the victorious coalition receiving a seat bonus to ensure they attain a majority in the Council.




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