ESU urges EU ministers to free up money for education

BRUSSELS – Strong commitments to increase public funding of higher education. This is what the European Students’ Union (ESU) wants the European education ministers to come up with during the debate about financing of education that they will hold at the Education Youth and Sport Council (EYSC) on 28 and 29 November. ESU urges the ministers to free up money for higher education and for EU-wide student mobility instead of cutting down the budgets, which is currently the case in many EU countries.

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson said: “The European Commission keeps on emphasising the importance of investing into education as a way to overcome the economic crisis. Indeed, only with a clear commitment to invest from all EU countries, the future of EU’s higher education will not be at stake.”

ESU is more worried than ever about the Europe-wide cuts in higher education and student support. Päll continued: “This is threatening the quality of life of students and the quality of higher education. In the long term, this will threaten all European societies and our economic development. Especially students in Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Hungary are facing seriously hard times at the moment.”

'EU loans will further deepen inequality'
The EYSC will ask the European Commission to propose a loan scheme for Erasmus in order to increase mobility of Master students. However ESU, the umbrella organisation of 45 national unions of students from 38 European countries, is against this idea. Päll: “We do not think this will be an effective way to increase student mobility. It will only lead to more student debt. Especially students who are not from a well-off family will most likely not benefit of this scheme as they fear debts.”

Besides the debate on the financing of students, the ministers will adopt Council Conclusions on the EU’s Modernisation Agenda for higher education, the Union’s benchmark on mobility and on the eastern dimension of student mobility.

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Published: 28 November 2011

For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32/479.591.499 or allan@esu-online.org or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or marianne@esu-online.org