The first ‘Spotlight’ of the DP Magazine features the youngest mayor of the country, Eric Thill.
The 26-year old economist is not only in charge of local matters in his home commune ‘Schieren’, he is also the youngest district president in the history of the Democratic Party.
We caught up with Eric to chat about his commune, the northern district and his political priorities.
DP: Eric, despite your young age, you are not unknown in political circles. How did you experience the past two years?
ET: The past two years have been quite intense and extremely informative. I got involved as I didn’t want to be one of those people who only ever criticise without doing anything to tackle the issues. I wanted to change local politics around, add a new breeze and try to push through my ideas.
DP: You were first elected at the last election? Did you expect such a result?
ET: No, that was a big surprise for me, too. I had been following village politics in Schieren for a while, and I knew which worries were troubling the residents, but I did not expect such a result. On the other hand, this showed that the people of Schieren were looking for young blood and a change in the municipal council. I was proud to take on that challenge.
„D’Dezentraliséierung an d’fërdere vum Télétravail si fir mech prioritär”Eric Thill
DP: The Schieren commune is currently holding merger talks. What’s your stance on the ‘Nordstad’ project?
ET: I see it as a positive development. I consider the ‘Nordstad’ a unique chance for the various communes and for the entire region. Quality of life and the well-being of the citizens should be at the centre of the talks. I think that people should be informed on a regular basis about the latest state of affairs and developments in the discussions; this is why soon we will be starting to hold informative meetings to keep people in the loop. This is crucial because the citizens will have the final say. Nothing should be decided by going over people’s heads.
DP: Where do your personal priorities lie?
ET: For me, the decentralisation of public administration and businesses, as well as the promotion of telework are a priority. This is where I see a gain as far as ‘time’ goes, and an improved quality of life for the people up north. Government has already started making steps in that direction. Now we ought to continue following in these footsteps. Public investments should also be kept at a high level.
DP: Which would you say are ‘lessons learnt’ from the Corona crisis?
ET: The past weeks and months have reminded us how important the local economy and our local businesses are. We should reduce our dependency on other countries in this regard, and we should build on our local production, craft and trade. This will also help our businesses to recover and gain back their ground quicker. It will be to our, and our environment’s advantage.
DP: As president of the DP Northern district, what are your plans for the future?
ET: 2023 will be an exciting election year. Currently I spend a lot of time visiting our sections in the north to take the pulse and exchange views and ideas. That’s very important to me in the run-up of the work that lies ahead. In some places we are not quite where we are aiming to be. Nonetheless I am confident that we are well prepared to enter the next elections. You can count on the north!