Vision – 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 AEGEE-Europe condemns the new Ukrainian freedom-limiting legislation /aegee-europe-condemns-the-new-ukrainian-freedom-limiting-legislation/ /aegee-europe-condemns-the-new-ukrainian-freedom-limiting-legislation/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:05:42 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=871 The members of AEGEE-Europe / European Students’ Forum are deeply concerned with the recent adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament (Verhovna Rada) of a new draft law that would severe multiple basic freedoms in the country. The law was approved on January 16th during a very irregular Parliamentary session, and is now waiting to be signed by President Viktor Yanukovych.

 

Photo: Reuters

AEGEE, as a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation, has proclaimed in its statement of principles that freedom and human rights are essential elements of a European society. Through respecting these values, we strive and stand for an inclusive society where citizens enjoy equal opportunities and rights. In this context, we oppose and deeply condemn any law which in any sense could limit the fundamental rights of the Ukrainian citizens, impede their freedom of assembly and speech, and put under the state control the activities of rightful civil society actors such as independent NGOs and think tanks.

We would like to express our strong support to all representatives of the Ukrainian civil society, and specially the members of our branches in the Ukrainian territory. We are convinced that the signature of this draft law, which contradicts the current Constitution of Ukraine and through a process that violates the existing national parliamentary procedures, is against the interest of the Ukrainian citizens.

At the same time, we fear that this anti-democratic law, which directly contradicts to the European commitments of Ukraine such as the European Convention of Human Rights, may lead to an aggravation of the stagnation of the EU-Ukraine relations. Even though the door to Ukraine’s integration with the European Union remains open (as most of the EU high ranked officials commented, see for instance the speech of Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament), we consider that in case of adoption of this law the negotiations may remain closed for an uncertain period of time.

Moreover, AEGEE-Europe would like to denounce the spread of similar laws in other countries of Europe, even inside the EU, as the case of the Spanish ‘Citizens Safety Law’ proposal, which also was signaled by Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights. At a time when citizens are demanding more democracy, these laws against fundamental rights just go in the opposite direction.

Written by Armenak Minasyants, Policy Officer of AEGEE-Europe for European Neighbourhood Policy.

 

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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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In Memoriam: Franck Biancheri /in-memoriam-frank-biancheri-2/ /in-memoriam-frank-biancheri-2/#comments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 11:44:21 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=283 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 building of Europe has inspired generations of active citizens in Europe inside and outside AEGEE, and we will miss his questioning approach to everything.

During the Autumn Agora Budapest we will dedicate a minute of silence at our opening ceremony and we will for sure have him very present. But, at the same time, we want to offer all people who has been inspired by him an open space for expressing their feelings.

Please use the comments thread on this post for sharing your last words to him. Go to the end of this post and you will find it there.

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Vision of Europe /vision-of-europe/ Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:37:41 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=30 Comité Directeur 2012-2013 envisions a united Europe without borders or barriers. This Europe does not consist of 27 members states, but it is a strong political union between all European nations, where national priorities are second to common interest, and there are no conflicts between countries and nations because of their past. The European economy should be a well-integrated union based on solidarity.

It is a Europe of citizens, and not of politicians. All citizens, especially all young people have the same rights and opportunities, regardless of the country they live in. We dream of a participative society where citizens both feel responsibility for their communities and have the opportunity to actively participate in decision making processes. The opinion of young people as the future generation is heavily taken into account by policy makers.

Our Europe is free of prejudice and represents a place for dialogue, where diversity is embraced as a source of richness. Europe should take an active role and responsibility in conflict resolution around the world. It is a role model for democracy and human rights, as well as an economic and political power recognised worldwide.

In our Europe, we have a common and inclusive system of higher education which reflects the needs of society. Non-formal Education and Volunteering as its tool are included in the educational system and strongly recognised, supported and encouraged.

Our Europe is creative, innovative and dynamic. Entrepreneurship and initiative are valued and economic development does not compromise the future of the environment, our natural resources and sustainability.

Comité Directeur 2012-2013
Anna, Bea, Kathring, Lucille, Luis, Miguel and Pavel

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