Mobility Programmes – 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. Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:02:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.10 Time is Money: volunteers’ time is given a value! /volunteers-time-given-value-money/ Sat, 09 Mar 2013 09:17:29 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=501 We all knew it, volunteers’ time is of great value. The time we dedicate to our projects and initiatives contributes to the development of Europe, both socially and economically. It also contributes to increase social capital or, in other words, it develops further cooperation among individuals and groups in the community. Moreover, a research carried out by the John Hopkins University measured it and announced that volunteers can contribute up to 5% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The new regulation on ‘financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union’ has finally admitted this officially. It includes the possibility of giving economic value to the work of volunteers and including it as co-funding for a grant application under 60.000€. This means volunteers’ time can be given the value it deserves and be included in grant applications to European Institutions.

At AEGEE-Europe we very much welcome this change that will enable youth organizations to actually measure the contribution of its volunteers, therefore obtaining further support in their projects. We also consider this decision a significant step forward, in order to reach the goal of give the right value to voluntary activities. However, we are still far from the objective and we encourage European institutions and the Members’ States to proceed with next steps which will go toward a full appreciation of volunteer work, such as the recognition of the skills and competences which are acquired during the volunteer activities.

Written by Felipe González Santos
Policy Officer on Youth Participation of AEGEE-Europe

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Erasmus: You really cannot vote! /erasmus-rally-cannot-vote-italy-elections/ /erasmus-rally-cannot-vote-italy-elections/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 16:51:18 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=384 Italian Erasmus students and young people abroad for the General Election 2013: the final decision of the Consiglio dei Ministri and the surprising reaction of the Italian Erasmus students.

 

The Council of Ministers held yesterday a meeting with a deep evaluation about the institution of the vote for the Italian General Election 2013 while being abroad for Italian students involved in the Erasmus Programme. During the debate some “insuperable difficulties” (as it was written in the official communication) emerged: the time for changing a constitutional law is too short. The Council of Ministers wishes for the resolution of this important issue in the future, and it will have to be the new elected Parliament to include the necessary changes in a future electoral reform. Creating an ad hoc decree for the Erasmus students has been discarded, as the Council of Ministers considers that this exceptional measure would be a privilege discriminating other students, interns and workers abroad, and therefore could be unconstitutional.

We consider that what should be revised is the constitutionality of the Italian Law 232 – 31/12/2012, which provides only certain collectives with the right to vote  while being abroad and not been registered in the AIRE registry. The law now allows to vote only the:

  • members of the Army and Police who are abroad in an international mission
  • civil servants who are abroad because of their job
  • University professors and researchers, and their family members

AEGEE-Europe is very satisfied by the reaction of young people, as it has been surprisingly fast and creative: they have mobilized through the social networks, and are already organizing polling stations all around Europe to show all politicians how their vote could have changed the result of the elections. All they require for the symbolic voting is their identity card. For now polling stations are confirmed in Madrid, Paris, Toulouse, Tenerife, Bruxelles, Heidelberg, Cork, London, Lisbon, Potsdam and Valladolid. But more will come soon.

AEGEE-Europe is pleased to see that young Italians do not give up easily in their claim for rights and they have found a constructive approach to continue their claim. With their example they are doing a great service to promotion of democracy in Italy and in Europe.

The page to join the initiative and check how they are arranging their campaign is here.

 

 

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Erasmus: You cannot vote! /erasmus-you-cannot-vote-elections-italy/ /erasmus-you-cannot-vote-elections-italy/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 10:50:58 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=374 More than 40.000 Italian young people studying and living abroad are excluded from the national elections.

AEGEE-Europe supports the claim of Italian students and calls for a solution that solves the violation of the democratic rights of thousand of young citizens. We expect the decision of the Italian Council of Ministers to allow all Italians living abroad the possibility to participate in the general elections. We are proud to see that the reaction of Italian Erasmus has been decisive to allow other Italians to exert their democratic rights.

Unless exceptional measures are taken, Italian Erasmus students, and all the young Italians involved in the Lifelong Learning Programme abroad such as the Leonardo interns, are going to be excluded from the elections to the Parliament that will take place on February 24-25th 2013. They cannot vote for correspondence in the Consulate because, according to the current law, in order to exercise their electoral rights abroad, Italian citizens must register at the Registry of the Italians abroad (AIRE) at the Consulate in the country where they have resided or are going to reside for at least 12 months. A period that does not apply for the most popular mobility programmes.

Showing once more how wrong is the common belief that the young generation does not care about anything except themselves, the Italian Erasmus have taken initiative and started claiming for their rights showing their indignation on facebook and social media. They have coordinated themselves even when being scattered all over Europe and they have gotten quite a lot of attention on the media, voicing their discontent and calling for a reasonable decision to be taken. A petition online has been launched, and the Leonardo interns and other Italians living abroad are signing up hoping to be included together with the Erasmus students in case a solution is reached.

All the frustration of these young people has been represented graphically in a very eloquent image: a piece of toilet paper where is written: here you are, this is what my vote is worth! One of the students wrote on  facebook:  “I am really astonished because democracy and active citizenship are among the specific objectives of Lifelong Learning Programme! So there is some contradiction on this situation”. Limiting the right to vote to those who can afford the money and time of a flight back home seems quite an unfair situation that needs to be solved. Erasmus students are supported in their request by UDU, the Italian Syndicate of Students.

Even the European Commission backs the students’ claim, which makes sense since they designated 2013 as the European Year of Citizens. According to a communication from the cabinet of the Commissioner on Education, Androula Vassiliou, “the EU supports the efforts of Italy for assuring that students within mobility programmes like Erasmus are not discriminated in their right to vote”, even though legislation regarding elections is part of the national competences.

Monti’s government has decided to do all that is in their hands to solve this problem. Today (Jan 22nd) the Italian Consiglio dei Ministri will meet and the topic is high on the agenda, with the Minister of Education pushing for a solution. Time is short, as elections are very close. When at the end of last year the government promulgated a law to allow researchers, military and professors abroad to vote in this elections, nobody thought of the students participating in mobility programmes. Now a special measure will have to be taken, and time is running out as the deadline for confirming the voting abroad expired last Sunday Jan 20th. According to the Italian Constitution, the measure will have to grant the right to vote to other Italians abroad in similar situation. As a back up plan, the possible reimbursement of the travel costs for the voting is not totally discarded yet.

As stated before, AEGEE-Europe supports the claim of Italian students and calls for a solution that solves the violation of the democratic rights of thousand of young citizens. We expect the decision of the Italian Council of Ministers to allow all Italians living abroad the possibility to participate in the elections for the Italian Parliament. We are proud to see that the reaction of Italian Erasmus has been decisive to allow other Italians to exert their democratic rights.

Related links:

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I love you(th) but I don’t say it! /i-love-youth-but-i-dont-say-it/ /i-love-youth-but-i-dont-say-it/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 14:14:48 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=227 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 still around 0,1% of the total budget, and that on a national level, education and youth is rarely a priority, when it comes to investing money.

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and now AEGEE is calling for a real investment in youth and youth organisations, in order to provide young people with real opportunities, and the recognition of the importance of youth organisations in terms of empowering young people, of giving them tools, skills and knowledge which are the bulding blocks for their future success. The work carried out by youth organisations such as AEGEE – and many others, active on a local, national or European level – is crucial, as with very little resources, we are developing young people, training and educating them, so that they will later on invest in their communities. Through non-formal activities, we also contribute to empowering young people and increasing their chances, not only on the job market, but also to become active citizens.

Therefore, in a period when the EU budget for youth is drafted for the next 7 years, we consider it  necessary to remind decision makers that actions speak louder than words, and that if they want to invest in youth, it now is the time to take action. On the morning of 16th October, AEGEE took part in the stakeholders meeting organised by European Youth Forum (YFJ) to discuss the latest news regarding the negotiation concerning the youth budget planning of the next multi-financial framework, and it is with pleasure that we heard that the European Youth Forum represents the needs of young people and youth organizations.


With Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth

On this occasion, AEGEE wants join the European Youth Forum, and raise its voice, not only as a European based youth structure, but also on behalf of the 15 000 young individuals who are part of our network. We believe that it is high time to give young people the means to develop themselves as active citizens, to find their place in society and in the job market. AEGEE hopes that on both the national and the European level, our representatives will take action in order to unlock the necessary resources for those young people and youth organisations who are willing to be active, who have projects, who have ideas, who take part in democratic processes, and therefore invest in the future of these young people.

Visit the  website of the new campaign of the European Youth Forum: LoveYouthFuture

Written by Lucille Rieux

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The future of Erasmus at a stake? AEGEE will not let mobility programmes down! /futureoferasmus/ Mon, 08 Oct 2012 12:02:06 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=154 October started with a worrying statement from the Chair of the Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament, Mr. Alain Lamassoure: “We have not foreseen in the 2012 budget enough credit payments … so the cohesion funds are at risk, also the European Social Fund, the Erasmus and life-long learning programmes, and even the research and innovation programmes”. [1]

These words, coming from inside the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets, shocked the European society, and especially the students. Surprisingly, what called the attention of the media was mostly the mentioning of the Erasmus Programme, making it seem like the lack of funding for cohesion funds, science or the European Social Fund are not equally important. Nevertheless, for AEGEE-Europe, the European Students’ Forum, the impact of a lack of funding for the Lifelong Learning Programmes would be significant. For this reason, AEGEE has been following the issue during the past days.

After the statement of Mr. Lamassoure, most of the Ministers of Education of the member states hurried to reassure students and their families that their grants are secured. While this may be true for the first semester of the 2012/2013 academic year, there are serious doubts for those students who will travel abroad during the second semester. On Friday, 5th October, the European Commission published an article on the topic in its news section about Education and Training. The title already caused more worries instead of calming down the situation: Erasmus students: don’t panic (yet)! The article clearly implied that the European Commission is still trying to convince the European Parliament and the member states to provide satisfactory funding for these programmes for the second semester of the academic year.

We understand that Mr. Lamassoure’s statement was made in a context of ongoing negotiations for the 2013 budget, as well as difficulties in fulfilling all the compromises with an estimated deficit of 10 billion Euros for 2012. However, we feel that this message casts doubts on the future of this project, when we should be celebrating the positive impact on society of 25 years of the Erasmus programme – one of the most successful initiatives of the European Union -, and finding ways to make it more inclusive to reach more students.

For thousands of students all over Europe, the possibility to become an Erasmus student is now. They have already arranged everything to study abroad this year, and they are ready for an experience that will enrich both their curriculum and their personality. Moreover, Erasmus is the best tool of the European Union to create a truly European Identity, which in the face of rising nationalism is more needed than ever. The uncertainty around the funding might cause some of these young Europeans to cancel their participation. Therefore, we demand that the European Commission and the bodies responsible for the funding issue a clear message confirming that the grants for the Erasmus Programme are guaranteed not only for the whole 2012/2013 academic year, but for the upcoming years as well. Any reduction in the funding will increase inequality among young people, and could make Erasmus a privilege of wealthy students instead of a right for everyone. Only adequate funding can develop the programme into a real Erasmus for All, which after all is the name of the Commission’s proposal for the years 2014-2020. AEGEE demands an increase in the number of mobility grants and an ambitious future funding for these programmes to make sure that every year students can reinforce their European identity by studying abroad.

[1]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/content/20121004STO53016/html/Erasmus-and-investment-in-worst-hit-countries-at-risk-warns-Lamassoure1
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