Europe – 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 Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden? /borderless-europe-blessing-or-burden-2/ Mon, 16 May 2016 12:14:27 +0000 /?p=6537 The Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden? Conference was held in Cluj-Napoca, in the heart of Transylvania, between 6th and 9th of May, gathering together around 60 young students from all over Europe. The event was the result of an active cooperation between AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca, AEGEE-Europe, Your vision for EUrope project and with the large contribution of the Association des Amis de Franck Bancheri .

The initial reasons that pushed people to get involved in the conference may have been different and so are the ways they got active- whether as participants or organizers-. However the vision, points of view and opinions share a common ground, which are to be found in the confidence and in the belief they have for the project and for Europe itself.

The Your Vision for Europe is a young project within AEGEE, which brings together 18 young motivated AEGEEans, that despite the fact they all come from different cultural background, from EU or not EU contries, they believe exactly in the same core values, being this the keypoint helping them to actively work towards their vision, aiming at a more unified Europe.

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The conference was just the first one of the conferences that Your Vision for Europe is planning to organize in the upcoming months. The event turned out to be a successful set of three full days of learning, sharing and putting different views of many Europeans together, ideas in which young people believe, and are ready to put into practice, i.e. to translate the most outstanding ideas into concrete actions in order to achieve improvements in the society we live in.

The Conference’s main purpose was to encourage mutual understanding between young Europeans, that were gathered together not only to acknowledge and discuss their personal viewpoints that may or may not greatly differ from those of the others, but also to foster understanding that the vision we have for the European Project is shared, showing that whatever problems we may face from where we are standing, could be overcome in the direction in which we are moving. A number of excellent ideas of all the joint endeavours we as Young people could possibly undertake together will have a great say in Europe’s future, was outreached through numerous sessions, panel discussions, and a broadcast of a dystopian documentary The Great European Disaster Movie.

One of the highlights of the Conference was, however, the Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri Award, namely the Franck Biancheri Award, which this year went to AEGEE- Cluj-Napoca. In fact, it was not a coincidence that the conference took place in Cluj-Napoca, that it happens to have been awarded the European Youth Capital title back in 2015.

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The Franck Biancheri Awards is a key-component in the strategy of the Association des Amis Franck Biancheri in favor of perpetuation of Franck’s work. The Franck Biancheri Award is showing the close relation that Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri has with AEGEE and how selflessly supports it to keep influencing and pushing for the democratization of European decision making processes that remains unchanged, as advocated by Franck himself.

The whole conference delivered a deep message that first steps towards a borderless Europe are, first of all, the demolition of any mental borders, but most importantly we don’t have to be afraid of situations we did not expect because in the end those are the ones that shape our identity and defines who we actually are. It can be the refugees crisis, a topic very much tackled lately, it can be the European crisis, which refers to the political crisis, the one of values and finally the economical one. Depending on our reactions, we grow or we stay the same, but only by facing the harsh times together we can make progresses and improve our own society. This is how we strengthen our belief that eurosceptism is not an answer, nor an alternative.

Cluj

The aim was to deal with the idea of a borderless Europe , how we perceive it and how media generally presents it. It was important to find out, or to remember, how European Union became what it is nowadays and why the Founding Fathers came to this solution, what were the circumstances and the precise historical background. This was a very important step as it helped participants to understand what direction we, young people, are going right now and what kind of union we want. Raising awareness about how we can actively change things and have our say within the system was more than crucial.

After their first success, the Your Vision for Europe Project team is working hard and getting ready for next conference that will take place somewhere else in Europe in autumn 2016. Stay tuned to find out more!

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Team red in Maastricht interviews Zack, from Canada /team-red-in-maastricht-interviews-zack-from-canada/ Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:56:10 +0000 /?p=6396 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team Red of Europe on Track 3, led by Madgalena and Hemmo, travelled to Maastricht in pursuit of Borderless Europe and got a chance to collect opinions of the people from there. Why did they visit Maastricht in the first place? Well, you cannot conduct a Europe on Track Project leaving Maastricht behind due to its history. Maastricht happens to be the birthplace of the European UnionEuropean citizenship, and the single European currency, the euro. It feels like a right place to be.

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Team Red came across a Canadian citizen there named Zack and used the opportunity right away to interview him about Europe. Zack wanted to know some things from Europe likewise EoT wanted to know his opinion over Europe and his Canadian Experience over similar issues. After almost 45 minutes of interview, the main points can be summarized below.

Which are the main positive points that you see in Europe compared with America?

The EU offers free movement of people and has open borders, free movement of goods and commodities. People enjoy better international trade, better salaries, better prices of groceries and easy access to travel and do tourism.

The use of “Euro” as a common currency within the EU is one of the advantages to boost economic growth. Unlike Canada and its neighbor countries, United States and Mexico, where Canada uses “Canadian Dollar”, US uses “US Dollar” and Mexico uses “Peso Mexicano”. This shows that integration is important for economic growth.

What do you know about Schengen area? What’s your personal opinion about it?

Schengen area covers more than 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, a number of countries have temporarily reintroduced controls on some or all of their borders with other Schengen states. As of 22 March 2016 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden have imposed controls on some or all of their borders with other Schengen states.

What do you think about the current situation Europe is facing nowadays?

I think that the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels leave a huge security dilemma within the European countries.

Europe is able to support the refugees coming in. Xenophobia exists over refugees in Europe. Refugees prefer to go to the rich countries for better lives and better jobs. Europeans citizens are faced with fears over security in their jobs. Canada is fairly xenophobic as well. They have accepted more than 25,000 Syrian refugees recently. Xenophobic threats are there in the local citizens.

 

Do you agree with Zack? For us, it was very interesting to get to know the opinion of someone from another continent! 

Next stop: Paris, Facing French Clichés: Voulez-vous clicher avec moi?

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Looking into 2014: a crucial year for the future of Europe /looking-into-2014-a-crucial-year-for-the-future-of-europe/ Mon, 06 Jan 2014 16:36:52 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=857 2013 was a year where things have started to change in Europe. Economic recuperation has been officially announced, but still has not been felt by the citizens who have to fight against unemployment and cuts in salaries or social benefits in their countries. Angela Merkel got elected again, becoming the first leader among the big democracies in Europe to resist the effects of the crisis on a national election; however, she needed a big coalition to form her government.

While the European Union is being questioned more than ever among its members, thousands of Ukrainian citizens faced cold winter winds and brutal attacks from police just to defend their European dream, first, and to claim democratic reforms in their country, later, making a lot of people think again of the positive facts of the still-in-construction European project. On the other side, we saw PM Cameron launching his proposal of referendum about an exit of the UK from EU, and we feel an increase of nationalistic and anti-EU messages in national media almost in every EU country. On the other hand, the EU welcomed Croatia in a new step towards reunification, especially relevant in a sensible area such as the Balkans. Two steps forward, one backward; this seems to be the rhythm of a new European dance.

But what can we expect from 2014?

The year will be marked by the elections to the European Parliament in May, where the European citizens will have the opportunity to speak through their votes. Will we see an increase of the presence of nationalist and anti-EU parties in the EP? It is quite likely they will increase notably their seats in the Parliament, but presumably they won’t pose a threat to the pro-European policies. And if, instead of sterile complaints and media-ready statements, they decide to have a constructive critical discourse, their contribution will for sure improve the decisions taken in the Parliament. In any case, the most likely scenario is a new decrease in participation in the electoral process, caused by the disaffection of many Europeans to the politicians that govern them and the gap between the EU institutions and the citizens. How the EU will fight the abstention in these elections, is one of the pressing questions this year that will be answered soon.

Apart from the elections, there are several other focus areas to follow in Europe this year. Will the new EU budget have a swift impact on the Member States daily life? Will the evolution of the civic protests in neighbouring countries, such as Turkey and Ukraine, lead to improvements in the democracy in those countries? Will the situation of human rights in Russia worsen, now that terrorism has come back into the scene, or will  the international pressure suceed in changing the Kremlin’s policies towards minorities and civil rights?

The referendum for the independence of Scotland (and the one in Catalonia, if it takes place), and especially the questions related to how to deal with their outcomes, will pose new challenges to the EU. The effects of the full access of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU deserve attention too, and hopefully the apocalyptic messages in UK tabloids will be silenced by facts that prove that the end of this unfair situation will just bring benefits to all of us. And we will still have to deal on a daily basis with the causes and effects of the economic and financial crisis, the solution to the unbearable unemployment rates, and the “austerity vs stimulation” dilemma.

For the young people… what will be the priorities? They will keep an eye on what affects them most: education and grants, and how budget cuts impact them. But… will the European young citizens feel how much their participation in the European Parliament is sought? Will their needs be taken into account by the decision-makers?

Obviously, there will be unexpected highlights in these 12 months of 2014, because Europe will always be an amazing place to live, which never ceases to surprise us.

Anna, Bea, Kathrin, Lucille, Luis, Miguel and Pavel
Comité Directeur 2013-14

Photos: courtesy of AEGEE-Ogre, European Parliament EP elections video and KyivPost

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Croatian referendum to introduce discrimination in their constitution /croatian-referendum-to-introduce-discrimination-in-their-constitution/ /croatian-referendum-to-introduce-discrimination-in-their-constitution/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 09:10:03 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=817 Croatia, the newest member of the EU, is today having a referendum that aims to modify their constitution for the first time in 22 years. The change in constitution is to include a sentence that specifies that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. and it is a clear attack to the movement for equal marriage that has been gaining battles all over Europe.

This referendum is the last step of a whole campaign launched by an NGO created ad hoc by a woman called Zeljka Markic, which is the visible face of this initiative. In fact she is the only visible face, while the rest is as obscure as they can. After some research, it has been revealed that the most reactionary groups of the Catholic church are behind this initiative.

Zeljka Markic speaking in front of cameras

The movement called themselves “in the name of the family”, mirroring similar groups that tried to block equal marriage in countries like Spain and France, and managed to gather a small army of volunteers to collect 740.000 signatures to force the government to call for this referendum.

The question that is asked in the referendum is:

Are you in favor of implementing into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia a regulation that marriage is a life community between man and a woman?

The referendum takes place today, Dec 1st, and the campaign preceding the voting has been really harsh, using manipulative messages to convince people to vote in favour. Moreover, the opposition parties are using this issue to erode the government, which is against this reform. Public personalities from fields such as sports, culture or arts, have also positioned themselves.

The expected result of the referendum will be in favour, therefore including the sentence in the Constitution and blocking the possibility of equal marriage in Croatia. This could be changed if the traditional lack of participation of young people is reverted. If you are Croatian, I would like to quote Zeljka Markic, since she finishes every of her speeches with: “Join us on Sunday to celebrate together the festival of democracy!”: So move your ass, go and vote! You can still avoid staining your constitution with such a discriminatory sentence!

Written by Miguel Gallardo, Project Director of AEGEE-Europe

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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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Let’s give peace an opportunity /lets-give-peace-an-opportunity/ Sat, 21 Sep 2013 09:47:25 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=733 Have you heard of World Peace Day? Today we celebrate the annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. 21 September become the official International Day of Peace in 2001, before it was changing dates.

But the United Nations count for this day with an incredible ally, the Peace One Day organization which works to make this day a real success and to have a bigger impact than just a red mark in your calendars. The guy who started the initiative, Jeremy Gilley, has mobilised in the last 15 years thousands of people to really make this day an opportunity for peace in many conflict areas of the world. Together with them, the impact has reached 280 millions of people last year through 6000 events, including concerts, sport matches and workshops.

Here you can see some more about the project: www.peaceoneday.org

Click on the image to see the video

 

We in AEGEE support peace but we do not have many opportunities to contribute. This year, however, we start on the same Peace Day something big. We are joining the University of Youth and Development (UJyD) in Mollina (Malaga, Spain) where we will host a Peace Bilding training focused on the Caucasus region. The multicultural environment of the UJyD will serve as a great framework where we can build up bridges among the youth of the Caucasus region and foster mutual understanding. We hope the outcome of this training course are positive and we will build up a bigger strategy in the next months. In the end we would like to give Peace not only a day in the calendar, but a home everywhere in Europe.

The University of Youth and Development is an initiative of  the North South Center of the Council of Europe, with the support of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), the Spanish Youth Council (CJE), the Latin American Youth Forum (FLAJ) and the Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE).

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Dear Ministers… NOW! /youth-rights-campaign-aegee-europe/ Mon, 06 May 2013 11:41:28 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=607 In September 2012, Ministers responsible for Youth from 47 Member States of the Council of Europe congregated for the Ministerial Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to agree on ensuring equal access to Youth Rights for every single young person in Europe. The aim was to achieve this through the adoption of the Declaration “Young people’s access to rights: Development of innovative youth policies in Europe” which would have served as a guideline to all the Ministers’ work in their respective countries. Some officials, however, had problems with ensuring access to Youth Rights for ALL young people inclusively. Ministers failed to agree on the issue that there should be no discrimination towards people of sexual orientation different from heterosexual, and with recognising other gender identities different from man or woman. In AEGEE we find it truly alarming that this vision came from some Member States of the Council of Europe – the European institution which core values are to uphold Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. Yet, we very much appreciate the fact that several bodies within the Council of Europe indeed did make sure that a proper follow up to the Ministers’ fiasco at the Ministerial Conference will take place.

This year, in April, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted two important documents: “Young people’s access to fundamental rights” and “Young Europeans: an urgent educational challenge”. Moreover, one of the recommendations coming to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was to adopt a legally binding document on Youth Rights, a policy document that will recognise and respect Youth Rights in their uniqueness, that European governments can then decide to implement in their countries.

This is where young people are stepping in. Several organisations came together to develop a Youth Rights campaign with three main aims: (1) to raise awareness on the situation of Youth Rights, (2) to make the topic of Youth Rights a priority on political agendas and (3) to strengthen the voice of young people in the Council of Europe Member States and structures.

The organisations starting the campaign:

· European Students’ Forum (AEGEE-Europe)

· Young European Federalists (JEF)

· International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student organisation (IGLYO)

· European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL)

· Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU)

· World Esperanto Youth Organisation (TEJO)

· National Youth Council of Portugal (CNJ)

· Flemish National Youth Council (VJR)

· Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU)

Together with a legal advisor – the European Law Student Association (ELSA), and a local youth organisation from Kosovo – MUSE-E. And with the support from the Advisory Council on Youth and the European Youth Forum and with many more organisations to join.

The campaign comes at a very important moment in Europe. Today, Europe is a continent where national governments do not always value the voice of young people in decision making processes. It is a continent where governments are continuously making financial cuts influencing young people’s welfare drastically in a very negative way. It is a place where youth organisations are not recognised and are often not given proper support. As the Ministerial Conference showed, it is also a place where young people cannot be guaranteed safety and inclusion.

This is why we are calling for action through a campaign called “Youth Rights. NOW!”: a campaign that aims to mobilise young people to fight for our rights and influence decision makers to put this matter high on their agendas. From 25th to 28th April, the campaign took the first steps, but it will take time to implement all the steps planned, gain finances and provide other prerequisites to set up the campaign.

Nonetheless, the Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe will mobilise its members to initiate a dialogue with national decision makers and to start a process of recognition and respect of our Youth Rights! We call also for other youth organisations to join the campaign and to mobilise their members. Finally, we call on policy makers – Youth and Education Ministers, Foreign Affairs Ministers (members of the Committee of Ministers of CoE) and Ambassadors accredited to the Council of Europe, each in their own capacity – to team up with young people and use our ideas and their power to make Europe youth-friendly, NOW!

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Rethinking education: the European students ideas /rethinking-education-european-commission-aegee/ /rethinking-education-european-commission-aegee/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:36:28 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=449 Last november the European Commission released the communication Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes. This document has been read carefully by several stakeholders in the education sector, as marks the Commission’s guidelines for the European policies in one of the most sensitive fields of national and European politics.

AEGEE’s opinion on the document is generally positive as it shows the will of the European Commission to adapt the educational system in Europe to the new challenges that nowadays society poses. However, there are some concerns that need to be addressed, regarding some critical aspects as the independence of the education institutions, the need for a balanced set of skills (that include not only the needs of the labour market but also the needs of society) or the need of including students in the decision-making process, among others.

Androulla Vassiliou presenting "Rethinking Education" communication (Photo: EC)

Read the complete reaction of AEGEE on www.aegee.org

 

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The “world’s most sustainable company” is European: Umicore /umicore-most-sustainable-corporation-2013/ Tue, 29 Jan 2013 01:29:46 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=399 DAVOS—Reason for celebration during the World Economic Forum for the Belgian clean-tech and recycling company Umicore, as they have been ranked as the world’s most sustainable company in the Global 100. Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg: “This recognition shows that we are on the right track.”

Since 2005, Canadian media and investment research company Corporate Knights has been putting together the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index. This list, published during the annual high-mass of corporate capitalism in Davos, includes companies from 22 countries, with a total sales number of over $3 trillion, and employing 5 million people. Compared to previous editions, the share of European companies continues to increase, to a total of 56 this year. This figures reflect the efforts made in this field by the EU and countries like Norway and Switzerland.

Corporate Knights uses the results of its Global 100 index to explore sustainable investment strategies. Behind these results lies a two-step methodology. Over 4,000 companies worth more than $2 billion are first sifted down to a shortlist of 400, based on their general sustainability performance and financial health. In a second step, these are further graded along 12 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including energy and water productivity, innovation capacity, CEO-to-employee pay ratio, percentage tax paid and leadership diversity.

This Global 100 clearly goes beyond purely environmental concerns, though not everybody is so positive about the exercise. According to Raz Godelnik, co-founder of Eco-Libris, the main issue with the index is that it does not give any objective bench-mark. Godelnik: “It is like providing you with the results of a 100-meter race without telling you what the 100-meter world record is—how can you tell whether the runners did well or not?” So in fact, it does not tell us much about the current state of sustainability in global business.

The fact, however, that two-thirds of companies on this year’s list also featured in the ranking of 2012, shows that the companies are committed to continue their sustainability efforts. Umicore, last year’s #8, precedes Brazilian beauty products manufacturer Natura Cosmeticos and Norwegian energy company Statoil, also the numbers 2 and 3 in 2012. In the words of CEO Grynberg: “Being recognised as the most sustainable company is foremost an encouragement to continue to grow our business in a sustainable way.”

So we hope that these 100 companies –more than half of them based in Europe– will continue to be “models for the art of the possible”, and show the way toward ever-more sustainable business practice. Of course, the entire Global 100 list only accounts for about 4.5% of global GDP. But it also has its value for the other 95.5%, especially in the development of the KPIs, and the possibility of measuring a company’s or organisation’s performance against them. Meanwhile, we congratulate Umicore’s management team and employees with their achievement, and wish them a successful year ahead!

From munironthemove blog
Written by Mathieu Soete
AEGEE-Europe’s Policy Officer on Sustainalility

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We all won the Peace Nobel Prize 2012! /nobel-peace-prize-2012/ Sat, 13 Oct 2012 19:21:10 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=205 Yesterday started with a long anticipated news, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced the Peace Nobel Prize for 2012. The Laureate was a great surprise for all the AEGEE members and all the Europeans, since the prize has been awarded to the European Union “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.

Even though the prize mainly has been given to natural persons, organisations such as Amnesty International, International Labour Organization, International Committee of Red Cross or the UNICEF have been also awarded in the past.
This prize, on the 60th anniversary of the European Coal and Steel Community carries an extremely important message: keep calm and carry on! Through these six decades “most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace”, said Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee when he announced the award in Oslo.
This prize showed us that we need to stop for a moment in our crisis-torn Europe, in our home and think about all those things which have been achieved in the past years, and also about the importance of further and stronger cooperation among the the citizens not only of the European Union but also whole Europe, since there is a lot of work and improvement yet to be done in our continent and in the world  We also hope that this prize will stimulate and increase efforts to solve existing conflicts through dialogue, diplomacy and other non-violent methods.

Peace and stability are also the core values of our association, therefore we shall also bear this message in mind and aim for a strong cooperation towards a democratic and peaceful Europe.

But this should also push us forward, thus AEGEE calls for peace in those European countries which are not Member States yet, and demands the EU for a stronger cooperation with our neighbouring countries in order to promote our values of peace and respect for Human Rights. We also wish that these countries can benefit soon from the positive impact of friendship and cooperation that this project has brought amongst the countries that are now members of the EU.

“It is a justified recognition of this unique project that has brought peace to our continent.”

 

In the interview after the announcement with Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said: “ the European Union that united them [the nations] in peace around the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, justice, rule of law and respect for human rights. And the European Union was able to do it through separate national institutions representing the common European interests.”

Written by Beata Matuszka,  Comité Directeur

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