European Parliament – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:59:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.11 Europe on Track 2 empowers European youth to become actors in the construction of the Europe of tomorrow /europe-on-track-2-empowers-european-youth-to-become-actors-in-the-construction-of-the-europe-of-tomorrow-2/ Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:30:08 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1022 AEGEE-Europe launched on Wednesday 9th April the project Europe on Track 2. After presenting the project in the press conference at the European Parliament, six ambassadors divided in two teams began their traveling by train all over the European continent during one month, with the objective of interviewing young people from various backgrounds about their vision of Europe.

To set the context, the results and the documentary from the first edition (winner of the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize) were presented to the audience. Then the project coordinators introduced the features of Europe on Track 2, which this time focuses on encouraging young people to get involved as active citizens and capture possible ways of participating in the construction of the European Project.

At a time when European integration is being questioned, and when young people’s future prospects have become hazy, Europe on Track wants to act as a loudspeaker for the youth, bringing their opinion, their realities and their wishes to decision-makers” Réka Salamon, project coordinator, said.

The six travelers will visit 25 cities in 16 countries, reaching as far as the Baltics, the Balkans and Ukraine. In local events they will discuss about mobility programmes, youth employment, the European elections, youth participation and europtimism. All the discussions and insights will be documented with videos, pictures and articles shared in the Europe on Track blog and through social media.

In order to overcome the geographical and time limits, Europe on Track partners with Debating Europe to host two online debates on youth mobility and youth participation. “With this partnership we hope to spark online discussion that can add to the project’s results, engaging more young people and even not-so-young people from all European countries“, said Rocío Leza, project coordinator.

AEGEE also counts with the support of Interrail, who makes this ambitious project possible. Besides, our partner Youth For Public Transport supports the sustainable transport of the travelers by providing them with a carbon footprint calculator created especially for the project. “We thought that there was no better way of contributing to the project than supporting the sustainable transport of the ambassadors, providing them with the possibility to really think about their mobility choices!” in words of Jerome Kisielewicz, Y4PT.

Find more about Europe on Track:
We invite you to follow the upcoming events of ‘Europe on track’ on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Welcome to the new EU-EaP priorities expressed by the European Parliament /analysing-the-priorities-of-the-european-parliament-for-eu-eap-relations/ Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:05:49 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=998

On Wednesday 12 March 2014, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on assessing and setting priorities for EU relations with the Eastern Partnership countries (2013/2149(INI)). The Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe warmly welcomes and supports this resolution.

Regarding points 5, 13, 15, 43 on the role of youth, education and civil society exchanges, the Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe would like to emphasise that our objectives are:

  • Enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of education and culture between youth from EaP and EU countries
  • Strengthening EaP youth participation by promoting active citizenship in the region
  • Developing solidarity between young people in EU countries and in the EaP region
  • Fostering a common understanding by raising awareness about the EU in the EaP region and vice versa

We call upon the particular attention of MEPs the existence of the Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe. Founded in 2011, this project is a unique initiative created out of the commitment of young Europeans, aware of the importance of youth work and the necessity of providing young people with opportunities to experience cultural diversity. It is also crucial to the development of civil society in the six program countries.

The Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe has developed and will continue to develop a wide range of activities (conferences, training sessions, cultural exchange programmes) within the abovementioned framework.

The Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe would like to express its utmost willingness to fulfill these new priorities for EU-EaP relations. Given the experience of AEGEE-Europe, we are best suited to work in collaboration with the European Parliament, the European Commission and other institutions in order to bring EU and EaP countries closer.

Lea Hannaoui-Saulais, Impact Measurement Manager and Adrian Browarczyk, Project Manager
Eastern Partnership Project of AEGEE-Europe

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AEGEE demands more equality in the procedures of EP elections /aegee-demands-more-equality-in-the-procedures-of-ep-elections/ Fri, 28 Feb 2014 09:18:43 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=964 Being actively involved in raising awareness of the upcoming European elections and trying to increase young voters’ turnout, we have identified a number of impediments that under certain circumstances limit citizens’ opportunities to participate in the elections. In a previous article, AEGEE put forward a debate about inequalities that exist in the EU Member States regarding the minimum age to be eligible to vote and to stand as a candidate. This time we address the issue of the different national rules that determine the right of citizens to cast their votes when residing or traveling abroad on the day of elections.

We find it unacceptable that the provisions for participation of citizens while abroad – within the borders of the EU or beyond – are so diverse and discrepant for the European Parliament elections. To mention just a few examples, while Bulgarian citizens are legally allowed to cast their vote if they reside in any other country, Cypriots are completely deprived of this right; while Hungarian electorate has an opportunity to vote in these EP elections no matter where they live – outside or inside the EU-, Greeks can only exercise their voting rights within the Union. There are many more contradictions, therefore AEGEE emphasises that since we are electing a single European legislative body, all European citizens must be provided with equal voting rights and through similar procedures.

Foto from Gunnar 3000 FotoliaEven when people are allowed to vote from abroad, there are many differences: in some countries proxy or postal voting is possible (e.g. Austria, Latvia, Belgium), in Estonia e-voting system functions, but in other countries the only available option is to vote in person from your own country’s diplomatic representation (e.g. Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic).  Current situation causes several negative consequences that worsen EU’s institutional image and decrease citizen satisfaction with, and trust in, the EU.

The obstacles to participate in the EP elections potentially decrease voter turnout, especially in those countries with a significant number of citizens abroad. The level of citizen participation in EP elections is already worryingly low – only 43% of Europeans voted in the last elections to the EP in 2009. AEGEE considers that rules and procedures for participation in European elections should be simplified to counter this low turnout, to avoid losing more voters and more voices in the upcoming elections.

Additionally, when citizens face such set of constraints for their engagement in democracy, the perception of legitimacy of the political entity substantially decreases.  The principles of consistency and equality are undermined from the moment nationals from different Member States do not exercise the same rights. Is this something the EU – being highly criticised for its democratic deficit in the past years – can afford?

Last but not least, these diverse rules and procedures are not in line with one of the EU’s main goals and greatest achievements – mobility of citizens. Having provided us with an opportunity of free movement among 28 countries, the EU has failed to adjust these basic regulations that should enhance the feeling of being European.

The aforementioned implies that the Y Vote project of AEGEE-Europe claims for two explicit things:

  • rules and procedures for the participation in European elections from abroad should be as equal as possible in all 28 Member States
  • these rules and procedures should provide better access to participation in elections in order to foster higher citizen representation.

Hence, AEGEE welcomes the petition Equal Voting Rights and Procedures for all EU Citizens in EP Elections initiated by European Citizens Abroad, and strongly encourages everyone to sign it!

Written by Diana Ondža, Communications Manager of the AEGEE-Europe Y Vote 2014 Project

In order to achieve the goals AEGEE-Europe has set for itself regarding the European elections, the Y Vote 2014 Project was successfully launched  in 2013. The project aims at reaching young people, especially first-time voters, in order to turn them into important actors of the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections through different discussions, campaigns and actions. A number of events have been already implemented, however our ambitions grow as our achievements augment.

Copyright pictures:
eVoting: Gunnar3000 Fotolia

 

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Mc Kinsey report highlights some of the problems behind youth unemployment /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/ /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:43:12 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=956 “In Europe, 74 percent of education providers were confident that their graduates were prepared for work, but only 38 percent of youth and 35 percent of employers agreed” states the Mc Kinsey report, which was released Mid-January 2014. This statement, based on a meticulous research carried out toward 5,300 youth, 2,600 employers, and 700 post-secondary education providers across 8 countries, brings to light the difference of perspectives and the lack of clear understanding among Education providers on the reality of the situation for young people willing to enter the job market.

This research reminds us that apart from the lack of job offers, another key issue is the existing skills mismatch between what Education providers are providing and the actual needs of the companies. These and other factors ended up in 5.6 million young people being unemployed in Europe.

AEGEE-Europe is worried to see that the situation for young people is still blocked and leaves so many young job seekers really unmotivated, desperate to find a job that not only enables them to pay their rent, but also fulfills their expectations. On that matter, we can only keep on calling Higher Education institutions to rethink their learning models and to cooperate further with companies in order to understand, and then translate in their programs, the skills that are being asked for on the job market.

AEGEE-Europe also wants to stress the crucial role of Non-Formal Education players in that field, since skills considered as crucial from employers, such as “spoken communication and work ethic” to quote the Mc Kinsey’s report, are exactly those that volunteers in youth organisations get to experience and develop. Moreover, not only do Youth Organisations provide soft skills needed by the job market, but they give also valuable work experience, which often job applicants lack. For this reason, AEGEE-Europe can only repeat the need for volunteers’ engagement and experiences to be recognised by key players, such as Educational centres (with ECTS compensations), Employers (by taking seriously into account volunteers’ experience) and public institutions (through validation of Non-Formal Education competences).

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Common parliament, different rules /common-european-parliament-different-rules/ /common-european-parliament-different-rules/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:49:41 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=905 In the light of the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, AEGEE organises different local and European level activities within the Y Vote 2014 Project to raise awareness of the elections and to increase young voters’ turnout.  As a result of various discussions, opinion exchanges and comparisons, several concerns about eligibility for participation in the European elections in each Member State have been identified. Namely, the rules that determine requirements for minimum age to be allowed to vote and to stand as a candidate differ from country to country. Should these inconsistencies exist is a controversial question.

Since the requirements for participation in the elections are established by national law, there are substantial disparities among the Member States. Firstly, the age necessary to be eligible to vote for the EP is 18 in all Member States, with an exception of Austria, where since 2009 16-year-olds are allowed to vote. This means that Austrian youth has greater potential to influence the composition of the EP in comparison with the rest of young people aged 16-17. Moreover, their interests and demands are presumably louder, more visible and taken into account at least in the pre-election stage. This creates inequality among European youth from different EU countries that is not justified, and therefore poses questions about the consequences this situation may cause.

Secondly, there are considerable age differences for candidates to be eligible to stand in the European elections. For example, in the situation when it is theoretically possible to find Danish MEP aged 18, Italians are obliged to wait seven more years to exercise the same right because in Italy the minimum age to be allowed to stand as a candidate in the EP elections is 25. This is worrying because even though MEPs are elected and gain the mandate in the Member State where they candidate, they form single legislative body that represents all EU citizens. Thus, a 18-years-old parliamentarian from Denmark votes upon the laws and rules that are binding in Italy, while an 18-years-old Italian can not. It does not seem fair, nevertheless the current electoral provisions draw exactly such picture.

Here you can see infographics from the website Europe Decides which shows clearly the complexity of the situation and the inequalities existing among countries (click on the image to enlarge):

For the Member States, it is obvious and technically easier to adjust the rules regarding the minimum age to vote and stand for the European elections with the rules that regulate national, regional and/or local elections. But in AEGEE we believe that more equality, consistency and uniformity is required within the Union, therefore we would appreciate if both parties, Members States and EU institutions, take necessary steps in this direction. Accordingly, AEGEE is committed to further be involved in addressing this issue and give recommendations that conform to our vision.

Importantly, this opinion does not touch other requirements for voters and candidates in each Member State and factors such as access to civic education, the level of youth involvement, and the interest in democratic processes, politics and other aspects, that may explain the existing differences in the national rules; however there are strong grounds to raise this discussion in order to make the EU more united.

Written by Diana Ondža, Communications Manager of the AEGEE-Europe Y Vote 2014 Project

 

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Choosing a leader for your EP2014 Campaign /choosing-leader-european-parliament-campaign-ep2014/ Fri, 24 Jan 2014 09:29:42 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=886 The political family in Europe has a wide variety of colours, representing the diversity of our continent also at the level of the ideas. In the European Parliament there are seats for hosting all the options of the political arc; and under the roof of the plenary room, eurosceptics exchange ideas with pro-Europeans, nationalists debate with federalists, and different political groups ally themselves to approve their proposals since no group has a majority to do it on their own.

As a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty, and following the recommendation of the European Parliament known as the Duff Report, in 2014 many political groups will campaign with a visible figure on the European level, which represents their candidate for the position of President of the European Commission. This is a great innovation that AEGEE and the Y Vote 2014 project welcome enthusiastically. We believe it will have a very positive effect in both keeping the focus of the campaign on European issues; at the same time it can be a decisive factor to increase participation in the elections by increasing the relevance of this election process on the eyes of citizens. This idea, however, has faced criticism from relevant politicians such as Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany.

It is interesting to see how, facing such a new situation inside the political groups, each one of them adopted a different approach. We present you with a brief analysis of the methods used by the five groups which have announced they will have a candidate for the position of President of the EC .

The first announcement of a frontrunner came from the Party of the European Socialists. From the very beginning, Martin Schulz (president of the European Parliament) never hid his intention to become the candidate of all the European social-democrats. Even when Schulz had promoted the idea of having primary elections to elect the socialist candidate, nobody else among the socialist ranks postulated a candidature; therefore, as early as Schulz was chosen on the 6th of November, he unofficially continued with his campaign.

 

A similar situation happened within the Party of the European Left. At their congress of December in Madrid, they approved the only candidature of Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Syriza party in Greece. He had been proposed by their Council of chairpersons in October and he got more than 80% of the votes. The European Left opted to present a candidate for President of the Commission not because they believe this new system will bring more democracy to the Union, but because they did not want to leave the monopoly of speaking to their rival parties.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe party faced a dilemma, with current commissioner Olli Rehn competing for the leading position on one side, and the former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on the other. Some analysts feared that the tension between these two figures, which represent two different trends inside the Liberal family (Rehn representing the more pro-austerity sector, and Verhofstadt the more pro-European), could break the liberals in two factions. The mediation of Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, and Christian Lindner, the leader of the German FDP, ended up in an agreement that places Guy Verhofstadt as the Liberal candidate for Commission Presidency, and reserves another big position, related with economic of foreign affairs, for Olli Rehn.

Among the christian-democrats of the European People’s Party, the situation is still far from being clear. The decision will be taken in Dublin during their congress on 6-7 March. Until then, negotiations will take place internally and they promise to be arduous. Already in December there were “at least 6 interested people”, according to Joseph Daul, the EPP president. The names of the interested people are not officially announced, but once Barroso seems to be discarded, the rumours signal to Jean-Claude Juncker (former prime minister of Luxembourg, with a clear opposition of the CDU of Angela Merkel), Jyrki Katainen (Prime Minister of Finland), and Fredrik Reinfeldt (Prime Minister of Sweden), as the ones with bigger possibilities. Other names on the rumours are Latvian ex-PM is on that list- Valdis Dombrovskis, Lithuania’s President and winner of the Charlemagne prize in 2013 Dalia Grybauskait?, Commissioners Vivianne Reading and Michel Barnier, or the IMF president Christine Lagarde. But  we should not discard the option of a surprise candidate as a result of a consensus decision, and it’s very likely that nothing will be known until the group announces it in Dublin. Until then, you can guess at the poll organised by Europe Decides, an initiative to help Europeans follow all the changes to happen in 2014.

The European Green Party, on their side, have launched a pioneering process of primary elections open to all Europeans. They have an online voting system where anyone (it is not necessary to be member of a Green party to participate) can choose up to two candidates for the position of President of the Commission. Every EU resident who is 16 or older can vote at the website www.greenprimary.eu until 28 January 2014 at 18:00. On the website you can also find the profiles of the four candidates: José Bové, the famous activist, with a profile oriented to the rural world; Monica Frassoni, co-Chair of the European Green Party, with a more Europeanist profile; Rebecca Harms, anti-nuclear militant with a wide experience in the EP; and Ska Keller, from FYEG (Federation of Young European Greens) and with a more social agenda.

It would be relevant to analyse if the method chosen to select their candidate had any impact in the election results that each political option will achieve, although it will also depend vastly on the resources they invest and in the attention that the national media pay to their messages. In any case, AEGEE welcomes the initiative of these political groups to readily follow the guidelines marked in the Lisbon Treaty, since these change brings us closer to the so-much wanted (but still so far away) scenario of real transnational European Elections with pan-European lists. We encourage the remaining political groups to follow the lead and select, according to their own favourite methodology, a visible head for the campaign. That person would be able to represent their views on equal conditions on the European level, and participate on the discussions about the relevant European topics of the campaign. This will be necessary if we want to avoid the risk of getting entangled in national debates. Moreover, this will make easier for the regular citizens to understand the implications of casting a vote and to make a choice, bringing Europe closer to them.

You can read more about the Y Vote 2014 campaign in our website.

 

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The European Parliament steps forward for the improvement of volunteering /the-european-parliament-steps-forward-for-the-improvement-of-volunteering/ /the-european-parliament-steps-forward-for-the-improvement-of-volunteering/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:27:59 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=866 Recently, the European Parliament voted a report written by the rapporteur Marco Scurria, on “volunteering and voluntary activity in Europe”, where the objectives for this institution are established.

The European Parliament expresses  concern about the follow up to the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV) and the implementation of the ILO Manual, a guide about recognition of volunteering, by Member States. EYV set some objectives that now the European Parliament encourages to promote:

  1. Creating an enabling environment for voluntary activities;
  2. enhancing the quality of voluntary activities by empowering organisers of such activities;
  3. giving due recognition to voluntary activities;
  4. raising public awareness of the importance of voluntary activities.

AEGEE welcomes these considerations and remembers that, as it is established in its position paper approved in Fall Agora Zaragoza 2013 about Recognition of Volunteering, the active participation of all groups in society is crucial to maintain the quality of the democratic life. Because of this, volunteer activities should be valuated as a real and valorised experience.

With this report, the European Parliament refreshes the goals already established at the EYV and encourages all the institutions involved to continue working to achieve the improvement of the volunteering situation in Europe.

The report proves that the situation of volunteering in European society is something that matters not only to European organizations such as AEGEE, but it is also a topic to be debated by relevant European institutions. Volunteering has a major impact in order to provide young people with competences and attitudes actually needed in the job market, as well as in the society. This is shown by the research done by the European Youth Forum on the impact of Youth Organizations in providing skills needed in the job market. Due to this understanding, volunteering should be supported as a factor of European integration and self development.

We see that there is a lack of precision in the ways to achieve the goals established in EYV and confirmed now. We take this report as a first step towards the development of real actions and accomplishment of the objectives

AEGEE also celebrates the optimism showed over the introduction of the European Skills Passport as a tool to provide “a comprehensive picture of volunteers’ skills to enable them to be officially recognized for both employment and learning purposes”. Therefore, we are looking forward to see that the implementation of the European Skills Passport is done according to the higher standards.

Written by Pablo Hernández, Policy Officer in Youth Participation

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Greek universities: when austerity threatens recuperation /greek-universities-when-austerity-threatens-recuperation/ Thu, 24 Oct 2013 10:41:03 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=790 Austerity has been the recipe of European Commission to get out of the crisis. Even when it is true that the drastic reduction of income made impossible for most governments to keep the expenses at the level of the years before 2008, this is a dangerous strategy if kept for too long. Austerity is a temporary solution to adjust to a new situation and cannot compromise fields of the economy that should contribute to the future growth, which is the long term exit to the crisis.

Some of these sectors are obvious: education, science and research, which are at the roots of the 2020 strategy and the transition to a knowledge-based economy. However, some countries’ policies seem not to understand the same.

Last week, MEP Nikos Chrysogelos and MEP Rebecca Harms hosted a Round Table Discussion with rectors of some of the biggest universities in Greece. They wanted to present to the European Parliament a call for support, since the Greek government policy of cuts has reached a point when the next measures will suffocate them. After cuts in funding and non-replacement of staff, university has already contributed already to austerity enormously. But the policy of mobility in the public sector threatens now to force them to inactivity by depriving the universities of  the staff they need to keep security in the campuses, keep their laboratories open and running, attend the students in secretaries, manage the whole paperwork of the different faculties…

In spite of the crisis, the Greek universities have managed to keep their good position in the rankings of universities but this will change if the Greek government does not step back from their intentions of transferring (based on supposed redundancies) up to 40% of the staff of some of the big 8 universities. Institutions like the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens will lose 498 out of 1.316 admin staff. Others will not do much better: National Technical University of Athens (339 out of 882), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (169 out of 747), University of Crete (49 out of 363), University of Patras (118 out of 442), University of Ioaninna (42 out of 288), University of Thessaly (33 out of 302) and Athens University and Economics and Business (35 out of 190). The ratio of administrative staff per student is already quite low in Greece (3,6 per 100 active students) when compared with other countries (in Germany is 11,5 per 100), therefore the implementation of this reform would paralize the activity of the universities.

Rectors claim that these cuts will make it impossible for Greek Universities to contribute to the European-funded projects they are now working at, which will lead to losses of funding and further worsening of the situation.

Moreover, rectors denounce is the fact that this measure is sold to the general public as an imposition coming from the European institutions, when the truth is that they are not included in the memorandum signed between Greece and the international lenders (the Troika). This is once more an example on how governments use Europe as a scapegoat to deny their responsibility in unpopular measures.

The rectors communicate that the Greek Government has never engaged with them in a direct negotiation, in opposition to what happened in other countries where the crisis has forced cuts in the public sector. Even worse, the Government refuses to clarify the methodology used to calculate the redundancies and the needs of each university, while the studies that universities have conducted show that they are already understaffed.

The rector from the Aegeean University of Athens, Paris Tsarkas, fears that behind this strategy may exist an interest to weaken the public universities in Greece, seen as a focus of opposition to the government policy, and suspects a hidden agenda to create favourable conditions to transfer students from public to private universities. This situation reminds very much the direction of other conservative governments such as Spain which face nowadays protests caused by the same kind of measures.

Since the European Parliament proved again this week that for them austerity cannot cut future opportunities for growth, we hope that they answer the call for support from the Greek Rectors’ Conference and avoid this unjustifiable attack to the Greek Universities.

You can read more about the Round Table Discussion in this article from www.worlduniversitynews.com.

Written by Miguel Gallardo, Projects Director AEGEE-Europe

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EVA: Does Erasmus make you a better European citizen? /eva-erasmus-european-citizen-elections/ Tue, 22 Oct 2013 09:57:24 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=782 The first meeting of the Erasmus Voting Assesment project (EVA) took place last week in Brussels, at the office of AEGEE-Europe.  This new project aims at answering fundamental questions concerning active citizenship and participation in democratic processes of young students, and in particular the ERASMUS students. Through an in-depth survey, the project will measure the feeling of “being European” among young students and, furthermore, assess any possible existing correlation between having been an ERASMUS student and the level of engagement in the European society. In addition, this project aims to investigate the voting behaviour of Erasmus and university students across Europe in the European Parliament’s elections.

AEGEE-Europe/European Students’ Forum, The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and Generation Europe Foundation partnered up and launched this new project, funded in September 2013 by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

The coordinator of the project, AEGEE-Europe, hosted the kick-off conference in its office in Brussels. The consortium discussed the main project milestones, and some of the first decisions were already taken. There will be 3 study visits in December to three big European universities, recognised for hosting thousands of Erasmus students: Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Sciences PO Toulouse (France) and Aarhus Universitet (Denmark). A conference in January 2014 with mark the official presentation of the project, involving relevant policy makers and stakeholders, and presenting the survey. The official website for the project will be also launched in January 2014.

The project consortium is supported by an Advisory Board consisting by two European associations with relevant experience in the field of European citizenship and in sociological research: European Movement International (EMI) and the European Sociological Association (ESA).

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Impressions on the EP plenary on Youth Employment /impressions-on-the-ep-plenary-on-youth-employment/ Wed, 11 Sep 2013 06:54:40 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=717 Yesterday the European Parliament held a session dedicated to Youth Unemployment. It was a very interesting session to follow, where almost all voices agreed on some points such as the seriousness of the situation in some of the countries and regions and the need for a strong action from the European Union.

We learned at the very beginning that the Lithuanian Presidency has adopted Social Inclusion of NEETs (youth Not in Education, Employ or Training) as its priority on Youth policy. We in AEGEE celebrate this decision.

Commissioner László Andor began by presenting all the actions taken on the European Level to revert the trend of destruction of jobs. Here, the initiatives included in the Youth Employment Package and developed in the Youth Employment Initiative, were showcased; namely the Youth Guarantee Scheme and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships. Later interventions however remarked the fact that independent studies have shown the big gap between the necessary funding and the amount allocated from European budget. This was supposed to be covered by countries but it is not certain it will happen, risking the success of these measures.

MEPs more on the left side blamed the conservative parties of being hypocrites for asking for solutions to the problem of youth unemployment, while they are responsible for it (at least partially) through the imposition of austerity measures.

According to many MEPs the solution to the problem of unemployment has to be based in investment. The necessary austerity measures should not apply to areas such as education, entrepreneurship, I+D… which require strong investments to start working full steam again.

Moreover, some MEPs highlighted the risk of placing the young Europeans on a terrible dilemma. The one of having to choose between a badly paid job and no job at all. Moreover, those work-for-free schemes such as internships have become sometimes traps for our youth, and they do not lead to stable jobs after the learning process because another intern covers the same place.

In the end, it was a very interesting plenary because the different speakers showed up that, even on such a critical point of the political agenda, they are divided and there are contradictory positions. Something that young voters will take into account for sure when deciding their vote in the next elections. We in AEGEE will give Employment a great focus in our new project Y Vote 2014, which aims at empowering young people to make an informed choice during the European Parliament elections by undertaking actions both on European and local level.

Time now to follow the State of the European Union plenary. You can follow it here.

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