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A view of Ghent and its unique architecture

Ghent wins the title European Youth Capital 2024

Ghent wins the title European Youth Capital 2024

The city was awarded because of its exemplary embodiment of European Youth Forum values – youth participation, empowerment and inclusion

On 18 November, the European Youth Forum announced that the city of Ghent in Belgium is the next European Youth Capital. The European Youth Forum is a platform dedicated to promoting youth participation in civic life, representing over 100 organisations from across the European continent.

Ghent will hold the title in 2024, which will align with the Belgian presidency of the EU. The title, in its own right, is supposed to highlight the importance of youth participation and give a concerted push to all youth programmes in the city.

Ghent Youth capitalThe European Youth Forum awards ceremony, featuring a speech from Apostolos Tzitzikostas,
the president of the European Committee of the Regions since 2020,
Source: European Youth Forum

Young people – at the core of democratic and civic life

The goal behind the European Youth Capital title is to invite local lawmakers to rethink how they include young citizens and promote their engagement. It provides cities with a much-needed opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas, projects and practices. At the same time, it is a title that helps authorities in their efforts to foster youth participation in culture, sports and democratic policymaking.

One of the big reasons behind a Belgian city winning the title is a recent decision in the country to lower the voting age in European elections to 16. The other reason is Ghent’s project proposal called ‘We Are The City’, putting the local youth council at the forefront, as an advisory body, alongside other regional and European youth partnerships.

The proposal focuses on engaging and committing more young people from diverse backgrounds and life situations to make them active players in city life. Local authorities want to use the momentum created by the European Youth Capital title to tackle structural problems like racism, discrimination and child poverty. The city will also open three new shared Youth Spaces in 2024.

A spokesman of the European Youth Forum congratulated Ghent for joining the ranks of previous titleholders as an embodiment of some of the organisations’ core values – youth participation, empowerment and inclusion.

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