On December 17th 2012 the Council of the European Union, represented by the Cypriot Foreign Minister Ms. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and the EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ms. Cecilia Malmström, signed the Visa Facilitation Agreement with the Republic of Armenia, represented by the Armenian Foreign Minister Mr. Edward Nalbandian. Photo: The Council of the European Union According to the provisions of the agreement, significant changes are coming to regulate bilateral visa matters between the agreeing parties. Particularly, starting from 2013 all the EU citizens will not have to pay for achievement of the Armenian entrance visa. For the Armenian citizens it will [...]
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Recently Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament, announced that the 2009’s anti-homosexuality bill will become a law in Uganda in December 2012. She spoke about passing the bill as a ‘Christmas gift’ to its advocates. While homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, this law would severely increase the penalties. In terms of the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, the law aimed to make a distinction between two types: ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and ‘offense of homosexuality’. ‘Aggravated homosexuality’, defined as ‘gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, paedophiles and repeat offenders’ would in the proposed law result in [...]
One week ago, on Wednesday Dec 5th, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Mr László Andor, presented a new package of measures against unemployment. The job market is severely affected by the crisis, and the situation gets worse every month. We stand now at alarmingly high youth unemployment rates in Europe: an average 23% in the European Union, and in some countries like Spain and Greece, over 50%. It is true that youth unemployment was an endemic problem in many regions in Europe but the situation is derailed now, and this has moved the European Commission (EC) to finally [...]
The countries on the European continent have been through a lot – war, economic crisis, ideological conflict, social tension – to name just a few. Several problems that appeared to be insurmountable have been overcome, but many others still persist. What is the answer to these issues? Or maybe it’s better to ask – who? If Europe is still under construction, as many people say, then who are Europe’s construction workers? We like to perceive ourselves as precisely that. Our vision for Europe is an inclusive one, with equality and mutual respect for all. This also means that we don’t [...]
On 27th November, the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament adopted the new YES Europe programme for youth, education and sport. This merges all the EU programmes in the field of education, training and sport, as well as Erasmus in the framework of a single programme. AEGEE-Europe welcomes the adoption of the “YES Europe” programme by the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, a proposition put forward by Member of the European Parliament Doris Pack, in response to the Erasmus for All proposal by the European Commission. The “YES Europe” proposal is still to [...]
Hate speech, human rights combat, young activists and initiatives, freedom of expression and anti-discrimination – these were the most frequently used terms at the Hate Speech Fair on 29th October in Bratislava, during the pre-event to Agora Budapest titled Brighten your Horizons. The event, organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe, encouraged members of AEGEE and other young people to join the campaign Young People Combating Hate Speech Online, and inform them about the presence of hate speech crimes in Europe. The event’s thematic concept brought fruitful results. Denisa Samková from Ternype, the association of Roma youth, as well [...]
It is a hard time for AEGEE now. While we should all be excited about our General Assembly starting tomorrow in Budapest, a call changed our mood. We were informed that Franck Biancheri, founder of AEGEE-Europe, had passed away on October 29th. The members of AEGEE have reacted instantly to the news, sharing their memories of meeting him, remembering how innovative his ideas were, how he had the ability to create debate around him, making new ideas flourish in the minds of those who had the opportunity to meet him. His belief that youth was a necessary actor in the [...]
Mr. John Dalli, who was Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy until last week, resigned after he found out that he was being investigated by OLAF, the EU's Anti-fraud office. Investigation started when a Maltese entrepreneur tried to use his contacts with Mr. Dalli to gain financial advantages from the company in return for seeking to influence a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products. This is a big cause of concern for the members of the Health4Youth project of AEGEE-Europe, the European Students’ Forum. Logo of Health4Youth AEGEE project The project team supports the decision of Mr. Dalli [...]
Last week some AEGEEans participated in the first World Forum for Democracy. In his opening speech of Jean Claude Mignon, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe described it as the Davos of Democracy. It was preceded by the Youth Assembly, where nearly 150 young people (Europe and beyond) discussed on the topic “Youth and Democracy, the young generation sacrificed?” for three days. With such a topic, the Youth Assembly held sessions and worked hard to share opinions and reach an agreement on one final document, which can be found here. This document was supposed to be presented to the World Forum, but [...]
We are now more than used to hearing politicians and representatives claiming high and clear that youth should be a priority. The alarming figures are not so much of a surprise anymore: the youth unemployment rate in Europe is more than 22,6%, there has been a drastic drop in the interest of young people for the democratic processes, still only 30% young Europeans end up with a University degree... Young people are our future and they do deserve support and attention. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions, we cannot help but notice that the European Union’s budget allocated to youth is [...]