The European Student Card initiative has been facing several changes in its scope and form since its inception. The European Student Card must clearly have an added value for students and improve their mobility possibilities. However, whilst ESU welcomes some of the changes and clarifications that have been put forward by the European Commission, we are still very sceptical regarding the success of the end goal of this initiative.
To start off, ESU needs to point out the continuous confusion that comes up when speaking of the European Student Card initiative. According to the latest developments, this is no longer about a “card”, but rather a bigger infrastructure that encompasses within it services that incoming international students should be able to access from before their date of arrival in the welcoming country/institution. The timeline provided by the Commission, namely of introducing this initiative by 2021 for all Erasmus students, and for all other students by 2025, is very ambitious, with very little details regarding how this will be achieved in terms of resources, finances and networking among countries and stakeholders in order to ensure that no entity, especially student organisations and civil society organisations at large, are left behind and not consulted in the process.
ESU questions whether the differing legislation in EU countries have been taken into account concerning student data. In some countries, student unions are in charge of issuing student IDs and cards, while the European Commission seems to go from the assumption that the universities are the most important associates in the European Students’ Card initiative. ESU is very concerned about the representation of students in the initiative. Whilst the ESU has been invited to a workshop on the topic, and there has been a webinar on the same subject, the European Commission seems to have reached a point of repetition, with very little concrete details being provided to stakeholders at large, and more specifically, student unions at the national level.
Therefore, ESU would like to express its concern and position in the following issues:
Given the Students’ Unions knowledge and expertise gathered through experience at the national contexts, ESU feels the need to point out that such unions should be considered as key stakeholders at every stage of brainstorming and implementation of the European student card initiative. Whilst at the moment some information has been given to ESU, a lot of questions remain unanswered regarding the specifics of the initiative. There is no one-size fits all when dealing with complex national standings that differ from one country to another. We, therefore, ask the European Commission, the Member States and all other involved decision making stakeholders to analyse the concerns and requests being put forward in this document, and to allow enough time for analysis and input at the national level.
Proposed by: EC
Seconded by: SYL