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This is how young politicians imagine the world in 2050
It's an election campaign again. Thousands of people "run" for their party. However, few party members are present in the media, and rarely are those under 30 years old. We wanted to know from some representatives of the young politicians how they imagine the world in 30 years. That is why we asked the youngest candidates of all parties running nationwide in the National Council election to take a look into the future for us. With the exception of the ÖVP, which despite four e-mails to the communications department and two phone calls, never accepted this invitation without a reason, each party sent us their next generation of politicians who were available to answer questions.
Everyone randomly chose five of twelve questions about the future hidden in fortune cookies.
Maximilian Weinzierl (FPÖ) is 22 years old, comes from Vienna and works at the Freedom Education Institute. According to his own words, he is running for the party because it "stands up for the protection of the homeland". Regarding the current number one topic, climate change, Weinzierl says: "You can't protect the climate, only the environment." He recently read a NASA study that predicts a "small ice age" for 2030 to 2040 (the study author refers to changes in the thermosphere due to lower sunspot activity, not to man-made climate change, note), and finally it was in Austria Last year there was more snow than there has been in a long time. In order to compensate for the effects of increasing population pressure on the environment, one should buy regionally, sustainably and seasonally, use public transport or walk short distances. Weinzierl hopes that in 2050, in addition to the cash, which is important for privacy, the "Christian values in Austria will still be in place" and that it will no longer be a problem "if you come out as a libertarian at school or university". At the same time, he is "not sure whether the EU can continue to exist as it is". But because he values economic thinking, the institution is important in order to survive economically against other great powers. Apart from resource-rich Norway, Weinzierl sees no new candidate countries.
Mirjam Kayer (Greens) is 23 years old, comes from Pinkafeld and is studying geography teaching at the University of Vienna. She is running for the Greens because she wants to "make a smart climate policy that is needed in Parliament". Due to the current climate crisis, she considers a school subject that deals with climate policy to be necessary. The prospective teacher does not want a maximum voting age, but often finds that the younger generation has a deficit in their knowledge of politics and elections, which is why schools should prepare more for this. In addition to the current member states, Kayer would also be in favor of the British still or back in the EU in 2050. It is important to her that other states like Turkey develop in terms of democratic politics and change in human rights issues so that they can perhaps join by then. "At some point the EU should cover all of Europe," says the Greens. Far from thinking within national boundaries, she wants a society in which "people and not nations" are the focus.
Elena Penker (SPÖ) is 18 years old, comes from Gmünd in Carinthia and is currently attending the nursing school in Schwarzach. She is running for the Social Democrats because she "wants to change something in the social field, in care and in environmental issues". She believes that a school subject that teaches how to use social media is imperative. She also sees no need for action in terms of voting age in the future. 16 years is a good lower limit, before that one has too little personal responsibility. In an aging population, she would see it as wrong if the elderly were to be deprived of their say. For radical environmental protection, people should simply "pull themselves together a little", believes Penker. Sausage, for example, should no longer be bought packaged, but brought home in its own container. If there is no noticeable lack of snow in winter sports regions, tourism must change in such a way that more year-round tourist activities are offered. If possible, a weekend trip to Barcelona should take place with Interrail by train and not by plane, says Penker.
Martin Pichler (now) is 23 years old, comes from Southwest Styria, but lives in Vienna, where he studies political science and does a few occasional tasks such as web design and photo montages on the Now list. He stands for the party because "we have to overcome the belief in authority". When asked whether robots should have certain rights in 2050, Pichler jokes that "by then, they might demand a right to free weekends". He thinks it is possible that there will also be robot lawyers at some point - similar to today's animal rights activists. He would do the weekend trip to Barcelona by bike, not by plane. A kerosene tax should make flying more expensive anyway - flying once a year should then be enough. Pichler believes that there is no need to live vegan for radical environmental protection, there is great potential in artificially produced meat. Regarding state coexistence in Europe, he thinks that there will always be a certain form of state borders, but barriers within the EU should be overcome and minor conflicts should be a thing of the past. In relation to the USA, Pichler would like an independent European identity. The goal is independence with the greatest possible cooperation.
Lena Hinterhölzl (change) is 18 years old, comes from Upper Austria, lives in Vienna and studies cultural and social anthropology. She is running for change because she wants "a strong anti-capitalist force in our parliament". In addition, privacy needs enormous protection so that personal data "does not become a consumer good for large corporations". For "environmental reasons" she would resent flying to Barcelona for the weekend trip. In 2050, however, there will be enough alternatives anyway, she believes: "I see Europe in my future as highly publicly networked: with express trains, buses and sharing products such as cars." Travel would be quick and environmentally friendly. "We are creative and have many options for inventing means of transport," she is convinced. In the future, citizen participation using smartphones will also become easier. Not only voting, but also collecting letters of support for a party will be possible online. "We will have achieved this by 2050," said Hinterhölzl.
Sophie Hochmüller (Neos) is a native of Vienna, 18 years old and employed by the party for the election campaign - for her the only one "who can bring a breath of fresh air to Austria" to stir up the "dusty system". In her opinion, central values are freedom, equality and peace. It is important to uphold it. This is "a basic requirement for democracy to be able to survive". In 2050 it should no longer be a taboo to talk about marriage for same-sex couples or abortion. The latter is "a delicate but very important topic" and how it is dealt with shows "how progressive a society is". It is also important for the young Neos politician to "see the great potential in the people who have come to us in recent years. It is a fact that Austria is dependent on immigration." Hochmüller is convinced that people from different countries have enriched our culture and society.
Titus Reinstadler (KPÖ) is 20 years old, comes from Innsbruck, studies political science and is involved in the Innsbruck Alternative List as part of an alliance of smaller left-wing parties. He works as a social worker with people with disabilities. Radical environmental protection is important to him, even if that would restrict people in some areas. It is simply crucial for the future and the climate. He sees politics on the train: "People often say that people have to change themselves and live more environmentally friendly. But politics has to create the basis for this and introduce appropriate laws," says Reinstadler. If robots have become much more intelligent by 2050 than they are today, appropriate taxes are important so that people are not increasingly displaced from jobs. Elections will then take place digitally, he is convinced. Until then, however, more protection is needed on the Internet, for example against hacker attacks, because otherwise "we would be very vulnerable". (Pia Gärtner, Fabian Sommavilla, Video: Andreas Müller, Isabella Scholda, 5.9.2019)
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