Youth participation in Germany

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Is there a national youth council, representing young people in your country? If yes, please provide the name, number of member organisations and number of young members.

YES
- Europaeisches Jugendparlament (European Youth Parliament)
– Deutscher Bundesjugendring: 24 member organisations on federal level, 16 member orgaisations on federal state level, 5 furher member organisations

 

Is there a ministry dealing concretely with the youth affairs in your country? If yes, please provide the name of the ministry.

YES - Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ)

 

Does the government in your country has a specific youth policy/youth strategy?

YES

 

From what age are young people allowed to vote in the elections? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

Local: 16/18 years, regional (of the federal state): 18/21 years, national (elections for the Bundestag): 18, european: 18 years

 

From what age are young people allowed to be elected in the elections to the representative bodies? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

18

 

Are there any youth participation initiatives at the local level (in municipalities), e.g. local youth parliaments/youth councils, meetings of young people with decision-makers? Please describe.

As far as I know there is no official youth parliament in my home-town. But young people are organised in the junior-organisations of the different parties (e.g. CDU, SPD, FDP...). In these strucutures they argue for their interests. These interests are considered in the work of the different parties.

Youth are also organised in town-wide school parliaments, in NGOs (political, ecological...).

There are meetings arranged in schools and in public places with politicians (for example with politicians who work in the national parliament).

 

Are there youth participation/decision-making bodies at schools, e.g. school parliaments, student councils, etc.? Please describe.

In every school there are school parliaments. Theses parliaments send ambassadors to all conferences in school in which decisions are made. They have got 1-5 pupils who are representatives and spokesmen for all pupils of the school. They are the ones who express the interests of the pupils and who enforce the attention of the director, of the teachers end of the parents to the prolems of the pupils.

In fact the director, the teachers, the parents and the ministry for school-affairs have more power when something has to be decided. That is why you cannot call this system democratic. But there is a very vivid participation of pupils in school-life in many schools.

 

Are there are youth parliaments or other youth participation bodies on the national level? Please describe.

There is the European Youth Parliament and the Deutscher Bundesjugendring (“German Youth Ring”). Children and youth learn how to participate in politics and how to build their opinion in questions of society and polotical participaton. These youth paticipation bodies proove if politics realy meet the interests of youth and try to improve the participation of youth in politics.

 

Is there any kind of education to youth participation/active citizenship included in the school curricula in your country, e.g. civic education? Please describe.

Every pupil gets lessons in plitics from the 7th or 9th grade on. Here he learns about the political system of Germany, about current topics in German, European and worlwide politics and policy.

Pupils get marks on their social behaviour, their engagement in school and in class.

There are some offerings at school which are voluntary. In some schools there working groups on mediation, on supporting people in poor countries...

 

Do media inform about youth issues? Are young people involved in media and their production, e.g. as journalists? Please describe.

Media do inform about youth issues. There are a lot of magazines and newspapers for youth and from youth which inform about youth participation and interesting topics (environmental, opportunities for leisure-time...).

Local and big national newspapers like “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” have regular pages in which youth write about special topics.

 

Are there youth information centres, official youth websites or other sources of youth information available for young people? Please describe.

In almost every town there are youth-centers where children and youth can spend their leisure time and are able to get informations about their opportunities to find a work.

There are official webpages for youth-information from the government, from NGOs and parties.

 

Are young people in your country informed about the European youth policy and its priorities? What do you think can be done to make young people aware about this? Please describe.

The European Union is always a topic in school and the Curricula. But the participation of youth and European youth policy is rarely a topic in the lessons.

I also never noticed some official information in public places about this. I think a problem is that the European Union and its meaning is too far away from daily interests and problems of people. They are more concentrated on national politics. There should be a better information-structure for young people, for example meetings with politicians who work in the European Parliament, more presence of flyers, brochures or NGOs dealing with this topic in schools and universities.

 

Author: Franziska Kause
E-mail: franziskakause@gmx.de

The surveys were submitted by the participants of the YouthVoice project from the respective EU Member States. The questionnaires were part of their preparation for the Youth Voice project and each national group had to undertake a small research about youth participation in their country. The organisers cannot guarantee correctness of the answers.