MTV launches youth EU election campaign

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The European Commission and the MTV network of television channels yesterday (9 April) launched an EU-wide campaign to encourage young people to vote in June’s European elections.

The joint campaign, entitled ‘Can you hear me Europe?’, sees the establishment of a website offering young people a platform “to express themselves, tell the European Union who they are, and address Brussels with their concerns, dreams, complaints and ideals” by posting messages, tweets and videos on the site. 

Users contribute to the ‘Can you hear me Europe?’ page via Twitter, and can also opt to allow the website to simultaneously post their contributions to their Facebook profiles. 

The Commission hopes the initiative will help raise interest and boost the participation of young people in the June poll. Indeed, turnout among voters aged 18-24 was low at the last elections in 2004, with just 40% participating in the ballot. 

A series of TV adverts to promote the campaign, launched on Monday (6 April) across MTV Networks International’s 168-strong network of channels, invites young people to “share their feelings, ideas and concerns, and express what they think about the EU”. 

The ads feature young people hanging loudspeakers on prominent landmarks in the iconic European capitals of London, Paris and Rome. 

The campaign will gain further momentum on 30 April with the staging of a Europe-wide ‘sound wave’ in Berlin, Prague and Milan. 

The event, to be held at 3.30pm and broadcast live on MTV and online, will gather young people in the centre of the three cities to shout ‘Can you hear me Europe?’ 

Would-be participants who cannot make it to the three cities are encouraged to record their own shouts “on the street, in town, at home, from a window or through a webcam” and upload the videos to the campaign website. 

Stressing the importance of young people's participation in the EU elections, European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström said young people "need to know that their voice counts and that it is important that they become involved in the debate". 

"Young people are the future of the European Union. We need their ideas and their active involvement," she added. 

"We are committed to using our network to empower the European projects that are essential in order to face the big challenges of our time," said Antonio Campo dall'Orto, executive vice-president of music brands at MTV Networks International

"We believe in empowering young people and engaging with them in building a future. This is a priority for us, and Europe can and should play a fundamental and positive role in this," he continued. 

The 2009 European elections will take place on 4-7 June 2009, in each of the 27 member states of the European Union. More than 375 million EU citizens will be called upon to elect 736 members of parliament (see EURACTIV LinksDossier). 

Since 1979, when the first elections were held, the European Parliament has gained greater powers, yet voter turnout has steadily decreased over the 30 years, from 63% to 45% in 2004. 

The Parliament launched its official campaign for this year's elections in March, focusing on choice, rather than civic duty, to attempt to reverse this downward trend (EURACTIV 18/03/09). 

MTV Networks International, a division of Viacom, includes the multimedia entertainment brands Music Television (MTV), VH1, Nickolodeon, VIVA, Flux, Paramount Comedy and Comedy Central, among others. 

578 million households across 162 countries watch the MTV network's channels and digital media services in 33 languages. 

  • 30 April: 'Can you hear me Europe?' event across European capitals. 
  • 4-7 June: European Parliament elections. 

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