“Your involvement makes a significant contribution”

The Federal Chancellor visits the G7 Youth Summit “Your involvement makes a significant contribution”

Olaf Scholz praised the active participation of young people in the G7 process for creating a basis “for us to make good progress in our world.”  Youth delegates handed over their demands to the Federal Chancellor at the G7 Youth Summit in Berlin. Prior to this, the 18 to 30-year-olds had spent five days discussing climate policy, economics, democracy, health and how to guarantee peace.

Photo shows Olaf Scholz

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G7 Youth Summit in Berlin.

Foto: Federal Government/Denzel

For Johannes Röder this is a very special day: “It’s really exciting to meet Olaf Scholz and to be able to put questions to him.” The 23-year-old is from the Bamberg area and is one of the youth delegates at the G7 Youth Summit in Berlin. The meeting marks the high point of the youth dialogue taking place within Germany’s G7 Presidency. Since spring, young people from all G7 countries have been working independently on five priority topics, before meeting up in Berlin over the past five days to draw up a list of their demands for the G7. The Federal Chancellor accepted their communiqué at the Youth Summit.

Priority issues of the communiqué from the G7 Youth Summit:
- Sustainable and green planet: The aim is to mitigate the climate crisis.
- Economic transformation for common progress: This includes promoting high-quality education and innovation.
- Reshaping democracy Digital skills and media competencies are essential for open societies and active citizens.
- Global health and solidarity: The primary goal is to prevent future pandemics and to minimise health inequalities around the world.
- Youth, peace and security Prompted by the war in Ukraine, the connection between these three points has become more significant within the G7.

“A little dream”

Johannes Röder associated the presentation of the communiqué with great optimism: “It is a little dream, but at the same time we expect the Federal Chancellor to commit to looking seriously at our demands and integrating them into the G7 process.”

Röder studies Information and Communications Technology, and is well-versed in political processes, having been involved in youth associations for the past ten years. Through his contacts he was appointed as a delegate to the Youth Summit. For Johannes, actively campaigning for the interests of his generation needs no further explanation, something he has in common with the other youth delegates.

They want to highlight that there is an “opportunity for participation”, Johannes says. What particularly impressed him about the international meeting in Berlin was that “all these young people have visions for the future and how the world might look in 20 to 30 years.” They were all passionate about these issues, he explains.

Long-term commitment to youth associations

Benjamin Günther agrees wholeheartedly with this. The 30-year-old is one of the oldest delegates at the Youth Summit. He primarily campaigns for social justice, expanding opportunities for participation for all and environmental protection, and has been doing so for many years. The History and English teacher has long been involved in the European Youth Forum, a platform for national youth associations. For him democracy is much more than “just going to the ballot box at elections”, and he wants to show that through his commitment.

Climate policy: a priority issue

Another delegate who came to Berlin for the Youth Summit is Aurora Audinio from Turin. “I think it's great that I can make a contribution and can represent the young people of Italy, as well as working with others from the G7,” says the 27-year-old. She is particularly interested in climate policy and sustainable finance. She hopes the Federal Chancellor will not only make membership of the so-called ‘International Climate Club’ open to G7 countries but also to those states that are already affected by climate change.

Federal Chancellor praises young people

Johannes, Benjamin, Aurora and the other delegates are delighted to hear the Federal Chancellor expressing his recognition of their work. “This is a vital contribution to the debate that we can conduct through the G7,” stresses Scholz. This was a world full of young people, the Federal Chancellor went on, so it was all the more important that the G7 was not only concerned with its own affairs.

The Federal Chancellor also uses his speech to address Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. “This war must end immediately and there must be a ceasefire. It must come to an end,” Scholz demands. The Federal Chancellor also expresses how impressed he was by the enormous willingness to help shown by civil society. On the topic of the Youth Summit he also refers to the many young people who have fled to Germany from Ukraine. “We will do all we can for these young people to be able to continue their professional activities and education,” Scholz says.

Scholz: climate change is the core responsibility   

Climate policy is one of the priorities for the Youth Summit, and the Federal Chancellor also stated his position on this issue. If man-made climate change is to be stopped, huge efforts would be required, particularly from the G7 countries, he says, stressing the importance of cooperation with each other. Scholz argues that this will take place in the context of the Climate Club, which is to be open to all – not just the countries in the Global North, but those in the Global South as well.

Scholz concludes his speech by once again praising the commitment of young people, saying: “I’m counting on you.”

Young people demand a voice

The Federal Chancellor can be sure of the ongoing efforts of the youth delegates. Benjamin Günther is also convinced that they should all continue to make their voices heard. With regard to young people, he says there was a willingness to get involved, as shown by the Fridays for Future movement. He also notes that there were more young representatives in the Bundestag than ever before. For Benjamin, it is critical that young people continue their intensive discussions with policymakers. The message from Benjamin, Aurora and Johannes to young people is this: you have a voice, you are being heard and you can really make concrete changes.        

Germany holds the G7 Presidency in 2022. The G7 Youth Summit marks the high point of the Youth7 dialogue with young people and is part of the G7's discussions with civil society. Members of the Youth7 are developing concrete recommendations for action that are to be incorporated in the G7 process to represent their perspective. Four youth delegates aged 18-30 from each of the G7 countries, the G7 guest countries and the European Union took part in the Youth Summit in Berlin.