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Getting out the vote - 11/05/2009

MTV teams up with EU on campaign to encourage young people to vote.

A new survey suggests young people are not as interested as their parents in the June elections for European parliament. This was already true for the 2004 ballot, when the turnout among voters under 25 was just 40%, compared with 48% for the overall electorate.

MTV is running a series of ads to promote the campaign on its international network of 168 channels. The ads show young people hanging loudspeakers on landmarks in London, Paris and Rome. The message? Voting is a way for young people to make their voices heard.

“Young people are the future of the European Union. We need their ideas and their active involvement. They need to know that their voice counts,” said commission vice-president Margot Wallström. This explains the slogan: Can you hear me?

The European parliament has many more powers today (including a big say on spending) than when the first elections were held in 1979. But voter turnout – 62% for that debut election - has steadily dwindled over the years. As part of efforts to reverse the trend, this year’s campaign stresses ‘choice’ instead of ‘civic duty’, the previous theme.

The campaign also features a website where young people can express their wishes and ideas - they can also contribute to the page via Twitter.

The elections for 736 members of parliament will be held from 4-7 June in each of the 27 EU countries.

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