Exploring a Passion for Politics
Amongst Europe's Youth

Ensuring the European Union remains relevant, relatable and connected to the daily lives of the millions of young people across Europe is now more important than ever – particularly as we enter European Parliament election year. To discover how Europe’s ‘Generation Z’ view Brussels and the EU, Coca-Cola surveyed almost 3,000 young people across eight Member States to gather their views, understand their passions and identify where opportunities exist to build a stronger connection.

Encouragingly the research highlighted that interest in politics amongst Europe’s youth is increasing, and 51% of young people surveyed want to find out more about EU initiatives in place for young people.  More than 1 in 3 consider themselves actively interested in EU politics, and the issues they care most about were identified as being health, education, economy and the environment.  While interest is increasing, youth still want to see greater focus on more relevant issues for them (55%) and more youth involvement (44%) in policy making.

The overall positive view was reinforced by more than half of those surveyed highlighting that they felt membership of the EU is important, with almost two-thirds believing that their country would be worse off outside the EU.  40% of youth believe they have a good understanding of the purpose of the EU and see it bringing strength in unity, mutual cooperation, economic benefit and freedom of movement.  However, in identifying the connection between the EU and their lives, Generation Z see the main benefit of the EU for them as being visa-free travel (57%), study programs such as Erasmus (50%) and increased security and peace (42%).

When exploring direct engagement with Europe’s youth, 64% of teens say the European Union could be doing more to engage with young people and just 25% think the EU meets the needs of young people well.  More than half asked for more opportunity to give their option, 47% want new ways for young people to be able to engage with the EU and 50% want young people to be actively involved in decision making.  Looking ahead to European Parliament Elections, 60% of those surveyed believe that voting is important and 3 in 4 of those who can, will vote in the May 2019 elections.

While there is clear interest in politics and purpose, the survey also revealed further opportunity to increase teens’ knowledge of the EU – while most (75%) knew that Brussels is the heart of the EU and more than half (58%) knew it has 28 Member States, less than a third (30% and 27%) could name its two most senior figures.

Follow the hashtag #GenZxEU to hear further thoughts on the research from MEPs, NGOs and more, and find out more about the views, passions and concerns of Europe’s young people in our infographic here.