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Youth parliament opens in Bern

The youth parliament is concentrating on foreign policy issues Keystone

Two hundred Swiss teenagers have gathered in Bern to debate the country's foreign policy at the tenth session of the youth parliament.

This content was published on November 1, 2001 - 13:26

State secretary Franz von Däniken of the foreign ministry opened the session on Thursday. Meeting in the House of Representatives, the young parliamentarians will talk about development aid policy, environmental issues and Switzerland's relationship with the European Union.

They will also take a look at the upcoming vote in March on whether Switzerland should join the United Nations. The session will include a debate between Ulrich Schlüer of the People's Party and Christine Beerli of the Radical Party, on the UN vote.

Weekend vote

The youngsters will also vote a resolution on the UN referendum on Saturday.

The would-be politicians, aged between 14 and 21, are schoolchildren, students, apprentices and full-time employees. They are divided into work groups charged with preparing petitions that will be presented to members of the federal parliament.

The youngsters began preparing the session in September with regional meetings in Fribourg, Geneva, Lugano, Lucerne and Zurich. They will present their demands to the foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, on Saturday.

The youth parliament was launched in 1991, as part of the celebration for the 700th anniversary of the Swiss confederation.

swissinfo with agencies

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