european students’ union

SYL: students want a better intergenerational policy in Finland

July 6, 2018

There is a strange contradiction in the public debate when talking about the young generations. On the one hand, the future of the Finnish welfare state is the responsibility of the younger generations. As part of an ever-diminishing number of working-age people, we need to keep the welfare state running and be innovative to face the challenges of our society, from robotization to climate change.

In Finland, young people’s belief in the current political system and its results has been shaken. ‘Me and my peers are now 24 years old. We have built our self-image and future dreams during a financially insecure time’ says Miika Tiainen, the president of The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). For the first time, the income growth of young people is lower than their parents one’.

Finnish youth is being active in social causes: volunteering works, promoting issues such as an equal marriage act and free upper secondary education among other actions. However, there is little faith in having their voices heard in political decision-making. This concern is justified -in part- when looking at the number of people eligible to vote in Finland. Those aged over 65 years outnumber those who are under 35 years of age – and these numbers have their consequences in political decisions.

How to make intergenerational politics more equal?

According to SYL, a broader discussion on intergenerational equity and to start to systematically assess the impact of political decisions on different generations is crucial to tackle the situation.

‘We must stop putting down young people in the media and support with resources to include them in decision-making processes. We, as a society, must see investing in the young generations as good future policy and as an investment in the future of Finnish society’ says SYL’s president.

SYL consider this is an important subject to discuss ahead of the future Finnish elections in April 2019

About the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL)

Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto, SYL for short, is an interest organisation defending and improving the educational, financial, and social benefits and rights of the students in Finland. The main areas of work are education politics, social politics and international affairs. There are also various other areas of work such as employment, equality, development cooperation and environmental issues.

Find out more about this member on our website.

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