On 4 March, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, met with Anton Abele, a Swedish MP of Latvian descent, and discussed how to encourage young people to become involved in public processes.
The Speaker characterised the relations between Latvia and Sweden as good on both the national and parliamentary level. Āboltiņa mentioned that she is planning to visit Sweden this year and to meet her counterpart, Per Westerberg. Abele expressed interest in strengthening relations between our countries and parliaments.
Solvita Āboltiņa and Anton Abele agreed that there is a need to increase the interest of youths in politics and to stimulate their participation in public processes. Āboltiņa declared that her priority as the Speaker is to increase the openness of parliament and to promote public involvement.
The Speaker told about Saeima’s tradition to hold an annual NGO forum at which numerous topics relevant to civil society are addressed, including education, demographics and youth policy. She also told about Job Shadow Day, which was held in mid- February; students showed a great deal of interest about getting acquainted with the work of the Saeima. She also described the Youths’ Parliament, which is expected to be organised in the beginning of June. These events educate society by revealing the daily routines of MPs and provide an opportunity to get involved, said the Speaker.
Anton Abele, born in 1992, is the youngest MP in the history of the Swedish Riksdag. He explained that his road towards politics began three years ago: after a young boy died during a tragic incident on a street, Abele began a civil movement against street violence. The young MP admitted that he decided to run for election not only to call attention to significant issues but also to influence and solve problems.
During the meeting, Imants Lieģis, Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, emphasised that Abele is an excellent model for young people because he shows that is possible to get involved in politics through civil activity. The Swedish MP of Latvian descent confirmed that he is ready to share his experience with Latvian youths.
Gunnar Abele, father of the young MP, believes that in order to gain the trust of young people in politics, young politicians have to focus on matters, such as environmental protection, that are relevant to their generation.
Photos from the meeting are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157626068646075/with/5496288019/
Video from the meeting is available at: https://www.youtube.com/saeimasab#p/a/u/0/mDWHDT4YCUE
When using the photos, please give credit to the Saeima.
Saeima Press Service