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The older you get, the more often you are confronted with terms like government, democracy and politics. It is not always clear what exactly is meant by these terms. But these topics are also very interesting for young people. After all, in some countries kids who have reached the age of 16 are already allowed to vote. But that also means that at this age, you should know a little about the politics of your own country. Only then is it possible to make a good decision. This is important because the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights of all, and one that should definitely be exercised if one has the opportunity.
Why? Simple Think about what it would be like if we couldn’t vote. Then it would be easy for one or another domineering person to bring the state under his control. Long ago, it was even the case that the people had no influence at all on who was allowed to govern them. In the time of the Monarchy the right to rule was inherited. So it was passed on within the family. The people had no decision-making power at all in this respect.
It would be even worse if we were in a Dictatorship would live. Then we would be governed by a single head of state who could decide everything on his or her own. He or she would be able to do as he or she pleased. The welfare of the people is rarely taken into consideration in a dictatorship. Nevertheless, there are still isolated dictatorships in the world. They are sometimes even quite powerful, such as the Asian country of North Korea.
The politics in your country have a great influence on your rights and duties. You can only have a say if you actively participate in the political process. To make this easier for you, we would like to clarify some basic terms in politics today.
Tip: If you don’t know the basic terms of politics such as National Council, Federal President and party, please read our article “Politics doesn’t have to be complicated” first.
What Is A Government?
In order to administer a state, you need a government. The government is also called Executive.. It has the task of ensuring order and a good standard of living in the country. Further down (“Tasks of the government”) you can read how the government ensures that the people in the country are well off.
The government is formed by the party with the most votes (the one that got the most votes in the elections). Most often, however, the government is made up of members of two or three different parties. When several parties form the government together, it is also called a Coalition.
Now you must be wondering what the government actually does every day, right? It’s like this: the members of the government meet regularly in the Council of Ministers to propose laws. These proposals can then be passed in the National Council and the Federal Council.
But to prevent the government from passing any laws against the will of the people, it is controlled by parliament. If the people are not satisfied with the government’s decisions, they can elect other parties to parliament at the next election.
In addition, the government is controlled by the Opposition parties by the opposition parties. These are the parties that did not get into the government because they received fewer votes. They make sure that the governing parties actually implement their promises. They also give the government feedback on what it could do better.
Tasks Of The Government
There are a number of ministers in the government. They are experts in their respective fields and check to see if you can get some laws passed in their area (including Department called) should be changed. With the different ministries, you will also learn about the different tasks of the government at the same time.
The ministries are called a little differently in each country. Basically, however, they are quite similar. In Germany, for example, there are the following federal ministries.
Federal Ministry Of Economy And Energy:
Ministers of this department deal with economic growth in the country. Its primary goal is competition between businesses as well as prosperity in Germany. In addition, it is to ensure that all social classes are doing well. After all, small and medium-sized businesses are to be promoted. Furthermore, new technologies are to be used in the economy. This applies in particular to the switch to renewable energy. This ministry is also responsible for this.
Federal Foreign Office :
This ministry shapes German foreign policy. It analyzes global politics and deals with how to manage global crises. Also, the Foreign Office takes care of enforcing human rights and cultural exchange.
Federal Ministry Of The Interior:
If a disaster happens in the country, then we need an emergency plan. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is responsible for this. It protects us citizens in many ways. Foreign citizens who live in our country also need to be protected. That is why this department also deals with migration policy. At the same time, it is concerned that no one violates the constitution. The Constitution is the foundation of our legislation and contains laws that have to do with the rights and duties of the state. It stipulates very precisely who may exercise which powers. The constitution is our most valuable asset and may not be changed or even abolished just like that. Because it is entrusted with the protection of the constitution, this Federal Ministry is particularly important.
Federal Ministry Of Justice And Consumer Protection:
This ministry is very important for us consumers. This is because it checks whether new draft laws violate fundamental rights or not. In this way, it upholds our rights and is involved in legislation.
Do you know what Consumer protection means? This term is not as complicated as it sounds. The consumers, that’s us. We have to be able to rely on the fact that food and other goods are neither harmful to health nor broken or counterfeit. That’s what consumer protection is for. It puts retailers in their place when they fail to comply with the law. In this way, it ensures that we consumers get our rights and can neither be deceived nor harmed.
Federal Ministry Of Finance:
All federal ministries need money to implement their goals. By the way, this money is also called Budget. Because someone has to distribute this money fairly, there is the Federal Ministry of Finance. Together with the chancellor, they decide who gets how much money. The Federal Ministry of Finance always keeps an eye on our tax money and how the government uses it. It is jointly responsible for the financial stability of our country.
Federal Ministry Of Labor And Social Affairs:
People should be able to pursue their profession under fair and healthy working conditions. There should also be social security in the country. This means that people do not have to worry if they become unemployed for a short period of time. This federal ministry makes sure that those values are respected and also deals with pension insurance and the labor market. It also tries to integrate people with disabilities into the “normal” world of work as much as possible.
Federal Ministry Of Food And Agriculture:
The ministers in this department act in the interests of food-producing farms. These are, for example, the farmers in your country. Thus, the ministry ensures that agriculture develops well and that the market remains stable. In addition, the ministry deals with the fight against world hunger, because far too many people have to die of hunger.
Federal Ministry Of Defense:
The German armed forces try to keep peace all over the world. Together with armies from other countries, they are stationed in crisis areas to restore order. The Ministry of Defense spends its allotted money on the air force, the army and naval units at sea. The most important part of the Army is the Medical Service. It, too, is under the authority of the Federal Ministry of Defense.
Federal Ministry For Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women And Youth:
A state cannot get far without families. That is why the family is also under special protection in the state. It is encouraged and supported as much as possible so that children get what they need. This ministry works to ensure that, as far as possible, everyone has the same opportunities for a great life. It also deals with matters of community service and welfare.
Federal Ministry Of Health:
Health is our most precious asset. That’s why everyone in the country should be able to lead a healthy life – regardless of whether they are rich or poor. To achieve this, we need a good health care system that as many citizens as possible can use. But because the work of doctors, pharmacists and hospitals has to be paid for, the healthcare system should also be affordable. That’s why the ministry needs to think very carefully about how it designs statutory health and long-term care insurance and what proportion of the costs we have to pay out of our own pockets.
Federal Ministry Of Transport And Digital Infrastructure:
When adults talk about Infrastructure they mean urban facilities such as playgrounds, kindergartens and the like. Infrastructure provides the population with many things that each of us needs. As a rule, we don’t have to pay anything to use infrastructure. The state provides it for us and in turn finances it from our tax money.
At the same time, this ministry is supposed to see to it that our traffic develops further. It is to become even safer and more advanced. In this way, the Federal Ministry makes sure that you can feel good in your own hometown.
Federal Ministry For The Environment, Nature Conservation, Building And Nuclear Safety:
Every country should do something to protect the climate. Because at the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. Because we all share responsibility for the state of our planet, we have to deal with issues surrounding nature conservation and environmental protection. More specifically, this federal ministry seeks to represent the interests of the population in matters of nuclear waste, radiation protection, and spatial research and construction. Our cities should remain as safe as possible from environmental toxins and free from nuclear radiation. For this, we need new technologies and sensible solutions.
Federal Ministry Of Education And Research:
We must continue to develop in order to survive in the long term. That’s why we have a federal ministry that is committed to education and research in the country. It tries to improve education and training and wants as many new technologies as possible to be used in the country.
Federal Ministry For Economic Cooperation And Development:
Human rights should be respected worldwide. For this to work, there must be people who keep an eye on living conditions worldwide. The Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is concerned with the question of how to distribute global resources fairly so that everyone is as well off as possible. No human being should have to starve or be oppressed by others. Therefore, conflicts in the country should be solved peacefully. Together with the United Nations, this ministry is working on a worldwide program to fight poverty. By the way, this program is called the Millennium Campaign.
Worksheet For The Text
1) Explain the difficult words from the text.
2) Why should you vote?
3) At what age can you vote at your age? If you don’t know, please research it on the internet. One site where you can find what you are looking for is this one http://www.wahlrecht.de/lexikon/aktives-passives-wahlrecht.html
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