Belgian residents from the age of 16 will be able to vote in the European elections as the federal parliament approved lowering the voting age.

Over 283,000 additional Belgian and EU citizens residing in the country can cast their votes on the composition of the European Parliament in 2024 after the decision of the Belgian federal parliament adopted late Thursday.

“By giving young people the opportunity to actively participate in our democracy, we allow them to make their voices heard and we further stimulate their interest in politics,” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said in a statement, calling the decision “a historic step.”

The young people have to first register for the vote, and in line with the Belgian constitutions, they will be obliged to participate in elections afterwards.

The decision only concerns European elections because lowering the general voting age for federal and local referenda would have required constitutional change and a two-third majority in the parliament.

Belgium is the fourth country in Europe that allows young people to have their say in European elections after Austria, Greece, and Malta.

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