Youth councils in Germany
For the magazine of the Finnish umbrella organization of youth councils, written together with Marcus Greiner.
In Germany there are several ways in which young people are “involved” in German politics today. In some cities there is an association of all school pupils. All the parties have their youth sections. The youth groups of trade unions, catholics, protestants, boy scouts, free and local youth groupy form associations in each city, called a Youthring. On a state and national level there are the Landesjugendring or Bundesjugendring that work for extracurricular youth activities.In Baden-Württemberg, the most active state, there are currently 100 youth councils. The first German youth council was founded in the city of Weingarten in 1985. Today there are youth councils in cities as diverse as Heidelberg (pop. 142.993)and Bad Säckingen (pop. 16.672). Currently there is only one umbrella organization of the youth councils in the State of Baden-Württemberg, with its 6 Million inhabitants. In Baden-Württemberg youth councils are part of the municipal act of the state since 1998 which gives municipalities the ability to create youth councils. There are only a handful of youth councils in other states.
The umbrella organization called Dachverband der Jugendgemeinderäte (www.jugendgemeinderat.de), which has four spokespersons and arranges for two annual meetings to exchange best practice examples, trains youth councilors in a variety of useful skills, and lobbies on it’s behalf the state government and cities which do not yet have a youth council. The umbrella organization was founded in 1993.
The Dachverband and Nuva ry have various contacts since 2005. The Finnish umbrella association has invited youth councilors from Germany to its meetings since 2005. The first special meeting between delegations of both associations took place in Bad Urach in 2006, since then delegations have visited each other and informed each other about their work continously.
The last meeting occured in May 2008 in Bad Urach. In their final declaration, the participants vowed to: continue the exchange especially by inviting delegations to their annual meetings, lobby for better exchange possibilities and get in contact with youth councils in other countries.
Sebastian Müller (25) is member of the city council of Freiburg (Baden-Württemberg) and was elected on the young peoples party list. In his free time he studies English, Politics and Economics at the University of Education in Freiburg to become a high school teacher. Sebastian.firstname.lastname@example.org
Markus Greiner (21) is spokesperson for the umbrella organization of Youth councils in Baden-Württemberg since 2006 (reelected 2007). In his free time he studies supply and environment engineering at the University of applied sciences Esslingen. email@example.com