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Respect for your engagement

Dear guests

Welcome in Bern. I’m deeply impressed by the transformation your country is to undertake and your personal engagement as young and politically interested citizens. It is difficult, always threatened, and needs a long breath.

As far as culture and social framework is concerned, we are probably not in a position to give you advice, rather the other way round : You make your living in a society with harsher economic conditions. I only followed the Maidan by the diary of Andrej Kurkow and daily life by Serhij Zhadan’s wonderful book Mesopotamjia. The music academy of Bern used to have good relationship with the academy in Odessa. A Chorus of young singers came to Bern some years ago, and two of them stayed with us for two weeks.

When we can give a little support by our experience, we are glad to do so. I will just stress on few aspects:

Subsidiarity is an important principle in Switzerland: let people do and decide about their affairs at the lowest possible political level. We can give you some insight into the working of a local community like Bern.

Beware of new public management. New public management – which is using private management tools for administration and even for parliamentary work, works well administrating things. But politics remain essentially political, and in the end you make politics with your heart and referring to ethical standards and the needs of the local population, not always measurable by « key performance indexes ».

Try to keep respect and responsibility. I try to do it myself in my function as the president of the city parliament. I sometimes find it everything else than easy, but central in the long run. And you are young, so for you the long run counts.

I wish you energy, fun – yes too – and endurance and I congratulate you for your work within the European Youth Parliament.  « They love and hope, believe and despair, wait without retreating, loose what they achieved and start anew…“  Serhij Zhadan writes. I thank you for your Engagement.