had the opportunity to speak with Christos Floros, the founder of Change for Luxembourg, a local grassroots participation movement, to delve into its mission and upcoming initiatives.

Born in Athens, Greece, Christos Floros grew up in Luxembourg and attended the European School. Christos has been campaigning for Civil Rights, participation and inclusion for several years. His engagement aims to support democracy in Luxembourg and a strong European Union. Please elaborate on the mission of Change for Luxembourg, a local grassroots participation movement which you founded.

Christos Floros: After more or less twelve years of advocating for participation, I started "Register Luxembourg" in 2021, but as a member of the Democratic Party since 2017, that meant it quickly became a partisan effort. Democracy thrives on participation, regardless of political affiliation, and that’s what we set out to do with Change for Luxembourg. To foster a movement for progress, increased participation, and representation in Luxembourg.

As thousands of people had already been following my work online, I wanted this work to extend beyond my efforts; to encourage others to step up and contribute to this effort too, and identify people to lead it - especially as I will not be in the position to continue this work at a non-partisan level any longer, as I’d like to work a lot more within my party, to drive progress internally.

Our mission is straightforward: grow interest in political participation within Luxembourg and advocate for representation of our incredibly diverse society, and active engagement in politics. How does the movement plan to collaborate with educational and corporate institutions in Luxembourg to achieve its mission of encouraging participation? Any upcoming events in Luxembourg?

Christos Floros: We just want people involved, creating real momentum, not just branding exercises. So, collaborations are definitely on the table, but only when it makes sense and delivers impact. Think workshops, not photo ops! We want to visit workplaces to have genuine conversations with voters about politics and make their voices heard. I believe we are planning to visit EU institutions in the next weeks, and we are in contact with Amazon, our country’s second biggest employer, to talk with their teams as well. In a context of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, plus taking into account Eurosceptic/anti-Europe narratives (talks of EU exits - and this being the first European election since the 1970s without the UK) and the fact that this is a "record" year for elections worldwide, why do you feel it is important that more people (not least potential first-time voters) head to the polls in June 2024?

Christos Floros: Voting is our civic duty. It’s how we shape the future of our society, at every scale, locally, nationally, internationally. In democratic societies, at least. Here in Luxembourg, citizens are required to vote.

If we could legally make every resident vote, I believe we would. Because in Luxembourg we really do see it as a duty, if you live and work in this country, we want you to take responsibility for it, too.

2024 is history in the making. The year they'll point to in the future and say, "That's when we stood up for democracy” or the opposite. The latter option, well, let's just say Trump getting re-elected, makes it scarily possible. Remember, he was elected after the shockwave of Brexit, right?

This year, Europe should send a different kind of shockwave to the US. A nod to our American allies, a message that says, "Hey, we're still building that post-WWII world together." A wake-up call. And guess how we do that? Electing pro-EU leaders across our Union in June.

We gotta rekindle that commitment in Europe. Our peace, our freedom, our freedom of movement, our Erasmus, our shared prosperity, all these things, we’ve achieved together, we’ve got to remind every single European that this only works, when we work together and when politicians are also willing to take responsibility for what didn’t go as planned, what we didn’t get right. Otherwise, we are going to leave the field free for the far right… And those who scream "no more Europe" are basically condemning us all. We, as individual nations, can't navigate this new world we are entering, alone. [...] We live in a world of giants now, and going it solo for any of us is a recipe for disaster. We can and will continue to love and cherish our homelands, celebrate our traditions, and at the same time we must continue to aspire to build our bigger selves together. We need more Union today, than we needed in the 90’s or the 2000s.

This is not just an election, it's a chance to shape history. It’s our opportunity to show the world that Europe is still a beacon of hope, collaboration, and progress [...] And that’s why I want everyone to sign up to vote before 15 April, to vote on 9 June. Luxembourg recorded a turnout of 84.24% in the 2019 European elections - significantly higher than the 50.66% EU average but still lower than in previous years (also taking into account the fact that voting is compulsory for Luxembourgish nationals). What challenges do you anticipate in achieving widespread participation (not just among youth) in the upcoming European elections and how can these be addressed (by movements/organisations like Change for Luxembourg but also politicians)?

Christos Floros: 84.24% might sound impressive, but that's not the EU election story in Luxembourg. Truth is, we have a low turnout. [...] Half the country just doesn't sign up to vote, so they’re not counted in the turnout. I've been doing this for a long time, I'll be happy when we sit above that EU average you mentioned. Our democracy is incomplete until we address this issue. Now, challenges? Plenty.

First, accessibility: We’ve got to simplify the process, make it seamless. [...] Both to sign up and to vote. Online voting? Absolutely. If I can transfer €10,000 from my phone, I should be able to vote from my phone too, if I want to. Second, awareness: [...] the EU can feel distant, impersonal. We need to connect the dots and show people how European decisions impact their daily lives. Local campaigns, targeted messaging, making the EU relevant, not abstract. Third, apathy: [...] some people see politics as a spectator sport. We need to reignite engagement, make people feel their vote matters. Grassroots movements like Change for Luxembourg, we're all about bringing people together, sparking conversations and creating a sense of community around voting.

But politicians have the main role in addressing those challenges. [...] More transparency, better communication, less jargon, and addressing real concerns like housing and cost of living – and contextualising our biggest geopolitical issues (even the most difficult ones, Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel), so that everyone can understand where we are at. That's how I believe we earn trust and get people fired up. [...] We all gotta work together to bridge the gap between apathy and action. Not just in Luxembourg, but across Europe. Whilst Luxembourg nationals aged 18+ are automatically registered (and obliged) to vote, non-Luxembourgish EU residents have until 15 April 2024 (at 17:00) to register to vote in the elections in Luxembourg on 9 June 2024. We understand you advocate EU residents voting in Luxembourg rather than in their country of origin - why does this matter?

Christos Floros: EU residents living here, the majority of our population, work here, pay taxes, and contribute immensely to our society. Yet, many head back home to vote (or even worse, don’t vote at all), missing out on shaping our European voice from Luxembourg, to ensure it reflects what we are, all together. Luxembourg is a symbol of European unity. [...] Here, your vote carries more weight. Luxembourg has six MEPs, each representing less than 100,000 people, in comparison to say Germany, where an MEP represents roughly a million people, meaning your individual choice here holds greater influence on the outcome. And it's about belonging. We want you to feel truly integrated, not just residents but active participants in shaping our future. Change for Luxembourg advocates [...] for a stronger, more vibrant democracy. We believe everyone who contributes to our society deserves a say in its direction. It all starts with your vote! You live here, vote here, make a difference here!