The Role of NGOs in Enhancing EU Integration Aspirations in Eastern Europe: Youth Political Empowerment

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Vira Tubaltseva, European Youth Parliament, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine

    Recent decades witness the rise in civic activity among youth in Eastern Europe towards EU integration. The most common form of youth civic involvement is non-governmental organizations, which serve as civic agencies, empowering young leaders to launch projects and initiate activities regarding social, political and ecological issues. In this respect, youth NGOs in eastern-European states represent pro-EU grassroots and participate in lobbying their integration aspirations. Yet not all eastern-European states always demonstrate strong democratic transformations. Hence the question remains whether youth NGOs are capable of ensuring tangible influence on domestic policy-making with regard to EU integration. The present research has been conducted with the aim to examine youth participation in civic EU-related activities and make comparative analysis of youth political involvement in EU affairs in eastern-European states with special emphasis on Ukrainian case. The research on the topic requires empirical methods, notably surveying experts, polling focus groups and monitoring, as well as application of analysis and synthesis. The results of the present research witness the highest level of civic support among young generation in Eastern Europe grounded on youth participation in social and educational projects in their countries and abroad. Although youth pro-EU activities are dominantly manifested through social and educational campaigns and not directly shape national policy, such civic campaigns promote political education among young leaders, forming current agents of influence and future politicians. Given these features of civic society in eastern-European states, policy-makers are compelled to take into consideration youth opinion while developing and implementing their political programmes.