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German voters will go to the polls on Sunday for federal parliamentary elections which will mark the end of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16 years as head of the country.

As the important election approaches, Euronews met with some voters to take the pulse of key issues for them and what they expect from the next government.

Health care

Sarah Branse, 36, an intensive care nurse, was on the front line when the pandemic struck.

“I would like our newly elected politicians to reform our health system, recognize health workers and improve working conditions,” she said.

She is also the founder of an organization to help victims of the devastating floods that hit western Germany last July. The nurse, who lives in Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Rhineland-Palatinate, said the region “needed money quickly”.

“We had deaths, we had injuries. People lost all their property in the floods,” she said, adding that there was a lot more to do in terms of environmental policy. Because, she argued, “if we adapt the course of rivers to our lives, then at some point they will take their revenge.

Climate crisis

Franziska Grotz is a 22-year-old student who wants to become a teacher /

She believes the most urgent problem the country is currently facing is the climate crisis.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen floods, fires and heat waves. Here in Germany, for example, we’ve had cold and rain all summer. Climate change is no longer a possibility, but a reality, ”she told Euronews.

“It is therefore imperative that we do something to at least contain the warming to the point where we can continue to live in the world,” she added.

Another student, Constantin Estroff, agreed. The 22-year-old regularly attends climate protests on Fridays for the Future and believes politicians are not listening enough to what people want and should be bolder on climate.

“Going forward, I want to help ensure that new technologies and the businesses associated with them serve people, society and the environment, instead of destroying them,” Estroff also said.

Bureaucracy

Joachim Stoll is an entrepreneur and vice-president of the Hessian Chamber of Commerce. He believes bureaucracy and bureaucracy hamper innovation in Europe’s largest economy.

The 59-year-old closed his leather goods business, which his great-grandfather started 101 years ago, earlier this month.

He hopes that these elections will usher in a new beginning for the country.

“We need a fresh start to cut red tape, not such terribly long planning times,” he said. “We need faster planning, especially for public transport. When you hear specialists say that it will take 15 years to extend the S-Bahn in Frankfurt, you think: ‘What a disaster.’

Europe

Political scientist and author Asiem El Difraoui, 56, believes that Europe should be discussed more at national level and that member states should respond to recent events in Afghanistan by converging on a common European foreign and security policy.

“For me, as a pro-European farm, and especially after what happened in Afghanistan, the most important issue is Europe,” he told Euronews.

“How do we manage to create a more united and stronger Europe? This requires a common foreign policy, but also a common security policy and a Europe based on solidarity which can also jointly control the COVID-19 crisis”, he added.

The diversity

Tijen Onaran is a 36-year-old entrepreneur and digital author. She divides her life between Munich and Berlin. She believes that there are not enough women in positions of power and that diversity is lacking in both business and politics.

She advises companies on issues of diversity and inclusion and her mission is to help increase diversity in companies, “not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of origin, generation and other things. “she said.

Social issues and equality

Benedikt Hielscher, 34, who lives in Berlin, is the CEO of a start-up called “Smoke Free 23”.

He also cited the environment and Germany’s place in Europe and the world as key issues he wants the next government to focus on, so that the country moves forward in building “a more just Europe. and more egalitarian “.

“I see the social divide as a very urgent problem for us right now. The coronavirus has made it even more obvious,” he added.

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