10752128_1559729567591480_678986247_nI met Mr. Michael Salomo (26) at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg. We sat together and had a short talk about democracy and his professional career.

Mr. Salomo, do you think youth can revitalize democracy?

“I am not sure if youth really has to revitalize democracy. I think it is already pretty much alive and just needs to be actively used by young people. The system we are currently having in Germany is the best system I know right now. From my own experience I can tell that it is sometimes hard to get into the system and to become a part of it, but if you really want to change something and are passionate about it, it will work out. I always knew what I wanted, and now I am the mayor of my city.”

How did you get to Strasbourg?

“I participate in this forum, because the organizer invited me with the goal to also include young politicians into the event. If a young person, who is already involved in politics, speaks to all the young people here, it is much more motivating for them to also take action.”

What are your expectations on the forum?

“I expect some constructive talks and would like to hear how democracy functions in other countries. If you take for example France, where being a mayor is an honorary post; while it is a full-time position in Germany one realizes that there is quite a big difference.”

How did you get involved into politics?

“I’ve always wanted to move something, so I joined a party when I was sixteen. At the same time I started apprenticeship as administration officer and worked for the federal ministry of finance. Furthermore I’ve always been active in labor unions and basically always gave a voice to myself. Now, being a mayor, I can really fulfill this.”

If there is anything you would want to see changed in democracy, what would that be?

“What I observed critically in the last few years is that an increasing number of people participating in initiatives, which is primarily good, because it brings in changes. But most of the time, the complexity of politics is underrated here. Single initiatives always follow only one goal, but if I spend money on the issue of interest, I have to cut budget for another topic. Thus, on the one hand, many initiatives don’t focus on the bigger picture; politicians, on the other hand, have to take every single factor into consideration. Fact is, that many citizens do not participate in open meetings with their local politicians, this is a severe problem to participatory democracies. It has to be understood, that all decisions and political activities are interrelated. But I think a young politician like me can bring that across to my generation.”

“So my statement for you and all young people out there in the world is: Give yourself a voice, represent your opinion. But do this in a verbal and democratic way.”