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Belgium to lower minimum age to vote in EU elections

16:43 22/10/2021

Young people aged 16 and 17 in Belgium will be able to vote in the next European elections. The federal council of ministers has approved the lowering of the minimum age to vote for EU representatives. Parliament must still vote on the issue.

The minimum age to participate in EU elections in Belgium is currently 18, in line with the minimum age to vote in municipal, regional and national elections. If parliament approves the change, which it is expected to do, Belgium will be only the third country in the EU to lower the age to 16, together with Austria and Malta. In Greece, the age is 17 and in the rest of the EU it is 18.

In Belgium, there are some 270,000 EU citizens aged 16 and 17. “This is nothing but positive – for democracy, for Europe and for young people,” said MP Kristof Calvo of Groen, one of the parties that was instrumental in getting the proposal tabled. “The faster we can get this made into law, the faster we can encourage youth to take part.”

There is also a proposal to lower the age at which EU citizens can run as candidates, from 21 years old at present to 18 years. That proposal is still under discussion.

European elections take place every five years, with the next one in 2024. Any EU citizen residing in Belgium is allowed to vote in EU elections.

Photo ©Bruno Fahy/BELGA


Written by Lisa Bradshaw