Sweet sixteen: Belgium lowers voting age for European elections

Belgium has lowered its voting age from 18 to 16 for all European Union citizens living in the country

An estimated 270,000 teenagers — both from Belgium and other EU member states — will be allowed to cast their ballots in the 2024 European Parliament elections.

The measure also applies to an estimated 13,000 Belgians aged 16 or 17 living abroad.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said on Friday that the lower voting age was one of the demands of the “Conference for the Future of Europe”.

“By giving young people the opportunity to actively participate in our democracy, we allow them to make their voices heard and we further stimulate their interest in politics,” she added.

The move was approved by the country’s parliament on Thursday evening.

Belgium now becomes the fourth EU country to lower the voting age for European Parliament elections after Austria, Greece, and Malta.

New voters in Belgium will first have to register on the electoral list and must then vote, as it is compulsory.

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