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Young people stir up Parliament with new ideas

The task was quite clear: “Change Switzerland!” Young people from all over Switzerland followed this campaign and submitted their ideas at engage.ch. 18 participants were invited to the Federal Parliament building on 11 June, where they discussed with parliamentarians how their ideas can be implemented. Read on to find out what the young people of the country want, and how the politicians responded to them.

23 June 2018, author: Mirjam Arnold, photo: DSJ, video: Helvetia

In the picture, all the participants (young people and politicians) can be seen in the Federal Parliament.
Young people from all over Switzerland visited the parliament building to develop their own political ideas with some young parliamentarians.

“Change Switzerland” was the rallying cry of the DSJ (Dachverband Schweizer Jungendparlamente), the umbrella association of youth parliaments. Many young people between 14 and 25 followed the call; after all it's their future we’re talking about. “It’s an outstanding event, bringing together politicians and young people. And it shows me that young people have a very great interest in visiting the Federal Parliament, on the one hand, and of course also in forming policy with their ideas, which we can then integrate directly into our policies,” says Damian Müller. The FDP member of the Swiss Council of States (Ständerat) from the Canton of Lucerne was delighted to see the passion that the young people developed for their projects. 

From food waste to loans for the unemployed

The young people were most concerned with the themes of the “environment”, “mobility” and “social justice”. Specifically the discussions ranged from food waste, electric cars and speed camera alerts, to neutrality and loans for the unemployed. Mirjam Bütikofer (25) was surprised by the variety of the concerns. She was pleased that everyone was taken seriously and treated with respect. The project conveys to young people that anyone and everyone who gets politically involved can achieve something.

Discussions over coffee with a member of the National Assembly

23-Year-old Sven Egloff also received an invitation. He was keen to be able to develop his own ideas with a parliamentarian. CVP National Assembly Member Marco Romano accepted his request to discuss the promotion of electric vehicles. They sat down together at a table, drank a cup of coffee and discussed the idea. Sven found working with him very exciting: “For the first time it became clear to me that you can often have an idea about changing something, but putting it into practice in Bern can be very difficult, because you have to take various factors into account, such as majorities, for example.” You can find how Sven hit upon the idea of promoting electric vehicles in this video.

“Change Switzerland!”

Get actively involved

Helvetia is totally committed to “Change Switzerland!” “The Swiss militia system is the foundation of direct democracy and the democratic culture of discussion,” explains Samuel Wernli, Head of Public Affairs at Helvetia. “This event is very valuable,” confirms Damian Müller, member of the Swiss Council of States. “This is the way our militia system works. Thanks to events like this, young people see how we politicians work and that many politicians also take part in other activities outside politics.” The young people did in fact greatly appreciate the fact that the parliamentarians to the time to look into their concerns. In their discussions the young people gained an insight into the political happenings in Bern. They experienced live how ideas can be developed and pursued.

DSJ (Dachverband Schweizer Jungendparlamente)

Thanks to the “Change Switzerland!” campaign, young Swiss people aged between 14 and 25 were able to submit their own political ideas and concerns at engage.ch. The project is organised by the DSJ (Dachverband Schweizer Jungendparlamente), the umbrella association of youth parliaments. The aim of this campaign is to get more young people involved in Swiss politics. “The militia system enables every citizen to make a contribution and this event offers just that for young people: They can take part in politics without already having joined a party,” says Melanie Eberhard, President of the DSJ. The DSJ (Dachverband Schweizer Jungendparlamente), the umbrella association of youth parliaments, organises events and projects so that young people can come into contact with Swiss politics. Examples of this include the youth parliaments or easyvote.