Teenagers urged to take up politics

Youth session president Alessandra Willi looks on as Alain Berset checks the size of his honorary T-shirt Keystone

Political involvement by young people is needed if Switzerland wants to progress, Interior Minister Alain Berset has told an annual gathering of youth activists held at the Swiss parliament building.

This content was published on November 17, 2012 - 17:29 and agencies

Around 200 young people were at the youth session in Bern on Saturday to debate political issues such as environmental policy, bank data protection and the ageing population.

Their conclusions will be presented to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hansjörg Walter.

Urging their continued political activism for the good of Switzerland, Berset, who at 40 is the youngest Swiss cabinet member, said: “We need to do more to improve young people’s opportunities in life. Young people today have to assert themselves in a very competitive European job market.”

He added that their presence at the gathering, organised by the Swiss National Youth Council, an umbrella body made up of 65 youth organisations, showed they cared about more than just their careers or consumer goods.

“You are the first generation for whom the Internet and globalisation are the norm, which can only serve to make you very interested in politics. You should understand the significance of the rising power of India, how China is evolving and how the United States is acting.”

The session also presented an award to the youngest parliamentarian in the House of Representatives, Mathias Reynard, for his support for young people in the past year, notably in campaigning for improved access to university for all strata of society.

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