Youth and Participation: are the people rising up in Spain? 


European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. The following entry is written by Angel Gudiña CanicobaResponsible of the International Relations Commission of the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España).

Angel Gudiña Canicoba

Angel Gudiña Canicoba is responsible of the International Relations Commission of the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España).

Nearly everyone in the world is aware of the so-called 15M movement (in English: “Spanish Revolution”) that happened in May 2011, which showed a great citizen response to the policies developed by the major political parties in Spain.

Meanwhile people, including a high percentage of youth, were “taking the streets” and organising new movements and associations, Youth Councils (both National and Regional) and youth organisations have questioned their representativeness, while at the same time their operational capacity was being reduced due to the lower support of local, regional and national governments.

Since then, 4 intense years have gone by: a general feeling of distrust in the institutions, corruption scandals occupy half of our TV news and newspapers, and citizens feel that they can only place trust in their equals.

2015 is a year of elections in Spain: Andalucia in March, all municipalities and 13 regions in May, Catalonia in September and National Government elections should be in December. And how did “politicians” react? New political parties with more participatory models have arisen, such as Equo, the 15M movement organised itself in a party – Podemos (getting 5 MEPs in a very short period of time) – and traditional parties, like PSOE or IU, are trying to renew their participatory structures to allow their members decide. The governing party, Partido Popular (Popular Party), however, decided to stay more or less the same.

And what happened with youth organisations and Youth Councils? We are a mirror of society and we have become critical of our participatory models and so – keeping our finger on the pulse – we have contacted non-structured citizen movements such as Juventud sin Futuro or Marea Granate, and tried to demonstrate our representativeness and to increase our openness to the social change that is taking place. Are we succeeding? Only the future will say! But let’s keep our fingers crossed.

You too, write about Youth & Participation for the European Sting, react on the following topics:

1. Do we need to reinvente political participation, through movements like the Indignados?

2. Are recently created parties (Equo, Podemos) taking over the space of more traditional parties (PSOE, IU, PP)?

3. Can Podemos win over the conservatives? Is Podemos the Spanish replica of Syriza?

4. Why has the Spanish government been unable to tackle youth unemployment? Do Spanish politics really care about youth

Send your reactions (200 words) to press@youthforum.org

About the author

Angel Gudiña Canicoba is responsible of the International Relations Commission of the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España).

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