27 June 2019, author: Alexandra Muheim, photo: DSJ, video: Helvetia
“Change Switzerland!” Under this slogan, young adults met the 15 youngest members of parliament. The young people, aged between 14 and 25, had submitted their ideas for political change on the online platform engage.ch. The members of parliament selected one of the ideas and concerns which they found to be future-proof and interesting. The goal was that the young people’s concerns would be taken up and implemented by politicians.
There was no lack of interest or motivation: between February and May, 342 concerns were collected, which pleased the organizers of the Swiss Youth Parliaments (DSJ) association very much. The goal of engage.ch: young adults should contribute their ideas in line with democratic principles and Switzerland’s militia system and bring about change. Since 2014, 135 concerns of young people have been transformed into specific political demands in this way.
The focus – including for 21-year-old Fabian Kuhn – was on topics such as protecting the environment, equality and old-age pensions. He would like to make the retirement age more flexible and also make raising the retirement age more attractive. SVP National Councillor Mike Egger promised to include the suggestions in a question round after the next draft by the Federal Council. 17-year-old Olivia Koch wants to introduce a deposit on plastic bottles. Irène Kälin, National Councillor for the Green Party, was receptive to the idea. She would like to submit a motion to parliament.
Samuel Wernli, Head Public Affairs at Helvetia, explains the insurance company’s commitment to engage.ch as follows: “The Swiss militia system is the cornerstone of direct democracy and a culture of democratic discussion”. This year in particular, which is the year of militia work, the focus is on political commitment. As an employer, Helvetia supports the idea that employees be given the possibility to take on a mandate in the militia system. It has also already launched an ideas competition entitled “Future-proof militia system 2030” with the Swiss association of municipalities.