As people continue to endure the cost-of-living crisis, energy insecurity and the ever more tangible effects of the climate crisis, 2024, with the European elections on June 6-9, must mark a turning point.

To make changes and raise young people’s agenda to the forefront - more transparency, jobs, measures to fight the climate crisis and support research, education and health in Europe - there is only one starting point: hope.

The 2020s keep on creating frustration, fear and anger. All of us can feel it, even if at different levels, from the family gathering you missed because of COVID, to a friend who can’t find a job, to our hearts going out to brave Ukrainians facing what will soon be two years of full-scale war.

2024 can be different. 2024 can harvest the biggest positive feeling among Europeans: hope. Europeans can unite behind a message of hope, hope that things can change for the better.

Hope is not staying on your couch and waiting for things to get better. Active hope is the sense of activism. Hope is standing up and making it happen.

In 2024, EU citizens have an opportunity to stand up and change things by voting on June 6-9. While the polls currently show Eurosceptics in top positions in many countries, this prophecy does not have to become reality.

The Polish people recently demonstrated, insisting that going to vote can make a difference. When people unite, they can enact change.

In 2023, JEF Europe, together with, asked young people what their ideas are for making Europe better. More than 5,000 proposals and 1.5 million votes later, we have 15 representative proposals young people share for Europe, the ‘Agenda of Hope’.

Among young people’s top concerns are the economy and the environment. They also want to see a more open and honest government. European youths deserve to breathe clean air, to live and travel sustainably and to be able to enjoy the economic certainty that was a no-brainer for previous generations.

Europeans can unite behind a message of hope, hope that things can change for the better- Christelle Savall

This Union’s young people are more forward-thinking than often given credit for and their number one concern was clear: institutions.

Youths recognise that real change can only happen by revamping the rules of the game and updating the way the EU works to reflect a changing world. This is where the vote comes into play. Criticising the EU as it stands today is healthy; we still have much to do to improve its structures.

Our hope for the future is linked to revamping the structure of EU institutions. The only way to do this is to update the European Union treaties to reflect the needs of the 2020s and beyond. This is why the European Parliament voted to initiate treaty change last November, following up on the results of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Institutional change now has to be discussed openly by governments because we all need, young, and less young, people, a Union more ready to face today’s challenges and tomorrow’s alike. It cannot wait longer.

Treaty change means hope. Hope to facilitate decision-making to protect the environment and our quality of life. It will enable the EU to bring those topics in its foreign policy for climate, for peacekeeping – the real purpose of the Union – as well as to prepare for and facilitate enlargement.

2022 was the European year of youth, 2023 the year of skills, let us vote in 2024 to make it the year of hope!

Christelle Savall is president of the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) and the coordinator of EurHope, JEF participatory campaign ahead of the 2024 European Elections together with, which will reach one million citizens from across the EU.

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