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Are Europeans ‘Ready For It’?

A high-ranking European Union official has pleaded with Taylor Swift to help boost youth voter turnout in the bloc’s elections this summer as they coincide with the European leg of the music star’s ‘Eras Tour.’

Margaritis Schinas, one of the European Commission’s vice presidents, called on Swift to rally her European fans to the ballot box just like she did with her U.S. followers in the past, labeling the youth vote as ‘crucial.’

In September, the ‘Shake It Off’ singer posted a short message on Instagram encouraging her 272 million followers to register to vote by directing them to the website, operated by a non-profit group with the same name. 

Immediately following the post, the group said it recorded more than 35,000 registrations, and Schinas is hoping Swift can have a similar impact in Europe, where voter turnout remains low. 

Swift also made similar appeals in 2018 when she encouraged her fans to take photos of themselves after they voted in the midterms and post them on social media with the hashtag #justvoted. The singer voiced support for Tennessee Democrats ahead of those elections, having previously largely steered clear of politics. 

‘Now it’s the moment for them (youth) to have a say in the ballot box, to attribute praise or blame on European policies, and it is therefore crucial that we have, as we had in 2019, a high level of participation of young Europeans in the June elections,’ Schinas said at a press briefing Wednesday according to Euronews.

‘No one can mobilize youth better than young people, that’s how it works.’

Hoping it will not be a ‘Cruel Summer’ for voter turnout, Schinas then went on to discuss the impact of Swift’s September post and noted she will be touring the continent this summer with concerts planned for countries such as Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland and Austria. ‘The Eras Tour’ is the highest-grossing tour of all time and the first tour to surpass $1 billion in revenue, according to Pollstar’s 2023 year-end charts.

The European leg of the tour kicks off in Paris on May 9, known as Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity in Europe. 

‘Taylor Swift will be in Europe in May,’ Schinas said. ‘So I will very much hope that she does the same for young Europeans and I very much hope that someone from her media team follows this press conference and relays this request to her.’

It is unclear if Swift, who is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, will heed the call. 

Voter turnout for the European Elections in 2019 stood at 50.66%, the first time it surpassed the 50% threshold since 1994, according to Euro News, citing a Eurobarometer survey. The survey noted the increase was largely due to youth participation. 

In comparison, 52.2% of the citizen voting-age population participated in the 2022 midterms, according to the Census Bureau.

This year, four member states – Belgium, Germany, Malta and Austria – will allow citizens aged 16 or older to vote in the European elections.

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