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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: CDU CSU

Mister President! Minister! Dear Colleagues! In difficult times, the coalition has – as has already been said – families, children and young people firmly in view; because they are not only the core of this society, but above all also its future. This is a kind of systemic relevance that must not be overlooked.

We keep an eye on young people, not just through Section 17, but also as a whole. Therefore – I want to emphasize this again – it is right that the debts decided this week should be repaid as early as 2026. If we are doing a lot these days for the necessary solidarity and care for the elderly and old, the sick and the weak, then respect for the young, their needs for development today and shaping tomorrow is no less important. It is our task, who are also child and youth politicians, to demand this.

But now to the household itself. I mean, he actually has something important to offer young people – which is why I am starting with a different focus than the previous speaker.

First. Special grants for child and youth education, i.e. the additional 100 million euros already mentioned as special grants for the non-profit institutions of child and youth welfare. This is important; because the pandemic will force us to implement severe restrictions on school trips, youth camps, cultural offers, etc. in 2021 as well. These are indispensable additions to upbringing and education in family and school. Namely, they contribute significantly to personality development. This is even more important after the pandemic, the hardships of which not all families can compensate from their own resources. The providers must therefore be able to resume operations as soon as possible and these funds are therefore well invested.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU)

In this context, I would like to ask the Ministry to make the subsidy amounts somewhat more differentiated. But it is also clear: quick help is better with flat rates.

Second: strengthening youth exchanges. We depend on the exchange with the countries of this earth, and it is even more good for the youth, who grow up with an unprecedented cultural open-mindedness and international networking. Since 1963, 9 million young people have taken part in the programs of the Franco-German Youth Office. The German-Polish Youth Office has brought together over 3 million young people since 1991. The youth organizations in the other areas – the Czech Republic, Greece and also Israel – have already been mentioned.

These youth organizations bring young people together across historical or cultural divides. They reduce resentments about the German war of aggression 80 years ago, with which many people are already doing their political calculations. And even if centrifugal forces increase in the EU: The youth organizations lay strong foundations for a common Europe. They create interest and understanding through shared experience. They are perhaps the most reliable peace insurance. That is why we continue to vigorously promote international youth exchanges, with over 28 million euros, 4 million more than in previous years.

Last, but not least: the youth exchange organization to be established with the USA is also extremely important. 2 million euros are budgeted for this. Healthy, productive and resilient relationships between Germany and the USA are not a matter of course, as we may have thought. They too need a broad social foundation. That is a very special concern of my group, this coalition and probably beyond, and rightly so.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU)

Third: more resources for the service of others. With almost 328 million euros, we are stabilizing the amounts for voluntary services and the federal voluntary service. That’s good, but I’ll say: It could also be better. We must also increase the attractiveness of the services so that it becomes a natural duty for all young people to do a service in a social, ecological, cultural institution or even in the armed forces. It would be beneficial for our social cohesion if all young people left their box, their environment in our increasingly fragmented society, to gain experiences with others and discover something in common.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU and from Katja Mast [SPD])

Finally – fourthly – more money for youth media protection; that has not yet been addressed. We are significantly increasing the budget of the federal inspection agency for media harmful to minors. It should be given more tasks so that youth media protection can finally be better enforced in our country, especially with regard to the new risks of the digital world. This is not only demanded by parents and experts; this is increasingly being asked by young people themselves. Next week we will be debating the associated amendment to the Youth Protection Act here, and I am already looking forward to it.

Ladies and gentlemen, children and young people have had to adapt enormously to external constraints over almost a year. The first lockdown was a tough turning point for many. But even if we keep daycare centers and schools open as long as possible today, important elements for their good growth are still missing; that must not be forgotten. Because education is more than school and school is much more than learning. We should not forget that. Sport and games, music and art, volunteering, spontaneous encounters and community are part of growing up. They make you self-confident in the search and independent in the encounter, and not all of it can be replaced digitally.

If we had a more systematic participation of children and adolescents, for example through surveys, feedback processes, nationwide school and youth parliaments or forums for genuine expression of opinion, then, in addition to parents, educators and youth representatives, they would also be contact persons for our politics themselves, and we could learn a lot of important things and completely certainly avoid mistakes even in the pandemic. Feedback, 360 degrees at that, is a professional must in our working environment. With regard to families, we have long been talking about negotiation processes. Therefore, I think we should catch up on listening and dialogue at a national children’s summit in spring.

(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)

Let me come to my last sentence, Mr President, before you warn me.

Vice President Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich:

You’re welcome.

Bettina Margarethe Wiesmann (CDU / CSU):

Protect, listen, recognize their development: these are basic rules when dealing with young people. But they are not fully developed adults; therefore no right to vote at 16 is required. But they have their fundamental rights and we have to respect them, and therefore they actually belong explicitly in the Basic Law.

Thank you very much.

(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU and the SPD)


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI