The European Students’ Union (ESU) states that higher education is a public good and a public responsibility. It is an inalienable right of all people residing on European territory.
Education is a core institution of our society and one of the main pillars of modern civilisation. It plays a central role in social and economic development, democratic empowerment and the advancement of the general well-being of societies.
Students around Europe have joined forces for this common manifesto.
Dear candidate, by signing the manifesto, the European Students’ Union will acknowledge you as a higher-education-friendly candidate and you will be recognised as such on our campaign website.
1. The financial crisis is not an excuse for cuts in education! Free education, public funding and student support must be provided to ensure genuinely equal access to and support during education – regardless of background. I pledge to keep education free from austerity measures.
2. The independent work of students and youth improves participation in society and promotes active citizenship. European student and youth organisations’ work must be supported in the EU’s budget with both operational grants and project grants. I pledge to preserve the operational grants for student and youth organisations in the EU’s budget.
3. Mobility and cooperation is the foundation of a successful Europe, and must be a possibility for all European students. ERASMUS+ is the flagship mobility programme of the European Union. I pledge to work for a solid and stable funding of the programme and increased grants for mobility.
4. Europe is multicultural and diverse. A racist society limits resources and threatens the security and well-being of the population. I pledge to condemn any form of racism, discrimination and hate speech.
5. Graduates’ unemployment is a European problem and needs collective actions. Higher education is a vital element of the economic recovery underway in Europe, and essential for societal development. All European graduates should have the opportunity to find decent and relevant work within their respective field. I pledge to raise awareness on the issue, to work for sustainable job creation in Europe.
6. I pledge to ensure a broad and critical evaluation of the ERASMUS+ loan guarantee facility for Master’s students before 2018, paying special attention to the long-term social effects of the loan scheme. The European Students’ Union must be a key stakeholder in that evaluation.
7. International students are major contributors to the quality of higher education. European higher education and European society gain valuable perspectives from students from outside EU/EEA-countries. However, they often face discrimination, in particular in the form of higher tuition fees. I pledge to ensure equal treatment of third-country nationals, and to improve and facilitate visa and residence permit procedures for students and researchers.
8. The European Union was founded on the inherent and absolute values of freedom, liberty and equality. I pledge to defend and uphold the equitable treatment of all people, and support all legislation aiming to increase the representation in higher education, of people from an underrepresented or a minority background.
9. I pledge to work for increased transparency of how decisions concerning higher education are made. Students have to be an equal partner in the decision making process. I pledge to work on “establishing a continued dialogue with student representatives and to support the free participation of students in every decision concerning students and higher education”.
10. Education is not a commodity! I pledge to oppose policies and language that reduces higher education to a mere resource to be traded and acknowledge the multifaceted purpose of higher education.