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We are the future

Shaping Germany and the world: We have asked three young members of the Bundestag about their key positions.

Maren van Treel, 07.02.2022
Hakan Demir
Hakan Demir © Hakan Demir

How are young people in Germany shaping politics? We have talked with three members of the Bundestag: Hakan Demir (37, SPD), Emilia Fester (23, Alliance 90 / The Greens) and Catarina dos Santos (27, CDU).

You all became first-time members of the Bundestag during the 2021 Federal Election. Which are your main areas of focus, and how are you becoming involved?

Demir: Among other things, I’m active in the Committee on Internal Affairs. I’m responsible for naturalization, international and European refugee law, and the abolition of the transgender law. So I’m addressing important topics that are shaping the modern state, and I’m happy to take on this major responsibility. I’m especially involved in the reform of citizenship law. I think that every person who lives in Germany for a certain length of time should be entitled to German citizenship if he or she so wishes. But of course, beyond the work in this specific committee, I’m also still involved in other areas that are important to me.

Hakan Demir
Hakan Demir © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fester: I’m not only the youngest member of the Bundestag at the moment, I’m also a youth representative. Intergenerational justice is my topic. My aim is for young people to play a bigger role in political processes. I want to enable them to be politically active and to show them the relevance of politics in their lives. Since I’m a member of the Family Affairs Committee, in which the topic of young people also plays a role, I can make my voice heard there as well. I’m also an acting representative in the Committee for Culture and Media and in the Committee on the Environment where my areas of interest are also relevant. In the environmental committee I would like to introduce topics that I support, such as Fridays for Future. Maybe we will even manage to establish an advisory body, in which the movements have the opportunity to express themselves directly, so that they don’t always have to take a detour via me or other members of parliament.

Emilia Fester
Emilia Fester © picture alliance/dpa

Dos Santos: My topics are digital affairs, Europe and law, and because I was born in Lisbon, I’m also interested in German-Portuguese relations. I spotlight these topics through my active involvement in the committees where I’m responsible for concrete aspects. In the Committee on Digital Affairs I shall be focusing on legal aspects, for instance the topic of fake news. That’s why I’m currently reading up on the latest developments in this area and thinking about how I can act effectively. I would also like to see more digitalization in the Bundestag. For instance, we’re the first generation of MPs not to have any fax machines.

Catarina dos Santos
Catarina dos Santos © Ralph Sondermann


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