The European Students' Union monthly newsletter

Issue: Board Meeting 69 - 2015

Dear readers, 

Firstly, I would like to thank our members for making yet again the Board Meeting a space of interesting discussions and exchange of ideas, challenges and possible solutions for student activism in Europe.

Between 1-5 December, we discussed the present and the future of the
organisation, as well as our point of view on topics such as Social Dimension or how we must react to the humanitarian crisis that refugees are facing.

We are living in very hectic times, not only regarding the role that education must play in building inclusive societies founded on democratic values and human rights, but also regarding European cooperation and solidarity. We, as students and student representatives, have an enormous responsibility and key role to play now more than ever.

Although we might have divergent views, we have always managed to make sure that ESU is an open and safe space to discuss, cooperate and come up with new policies and initiatives.
ESU has always been known and respected because of defending education as a human right, a public good and a public service.

We should never give up these values and I hope that working together during these few days was as useful for ESU itself as for every single one of you and the unions you represent. 

Fernando Galán, ESU Chairperson
Board Meeting 69 News
European Students call for pan-European and proactive solidarity with refugees
We, the European Students' Union (ESU), representing all the students in Europe, call upon all the students, teaching and administrative staff, universities and other education institutions, as well as authorities, policy makers and citizens in general, to welcome and provide assistance and support to students who are displaced persons, such as refugees, asylum seekers or persons in a refugee-like situation. We do also remind all stakeholders to ensure fair access to education for all the refugees, and specially to those who did not have the opportunity to enroll so far or those who want to continue their education. Moreover, there is also a need to offer fair opportunities to those academics who are in similar situations.
Read more
ESU calls on protection of academic freedom and student rights in Belarus
On the December 2 in Minsk student activists marched in a peaceful demonstration against the complementary fees that have been introduced in several universities including Belarusian State University (BSU). Demonstrants addressed the issue of continuous oppression on student activists protesting against the introduction of fees. Consequently students demanded the right to independent self-organisation and governance of student movement.
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ESU is glad to welcome the European Deaf Students' Union as a new Associate Member!
With the occasion of the 69th Board Meeting in Cluj-Napoca, ESU members elected with unanimity the European Deaf Students' Union (EDSU) as Associate Member. ESU was delighted to meet Bernadette Auersperg, Board Member of EDSU who participated to the whole Board Meeting 69 and Board Meeting Seminar. ESU ensured that international sign language interpreters were present to ensure a smooth communication.
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Plan of Work 2016
 ESU adopted its Plan of Work 2016 during the Board Meeting 69 in Cluj-Napoca.  The plan includes specific targets for the year 2016 within the framework of the strategic priorities set at the Board Meeting 67 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
2015 Policy Paper on Social Dimension
This strategy outlines priorities for a more inclusive higher education. With this document, ESU hopes to ensure that that everyone, no matter political views, religion, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation, gender or social standing, has the right to access and complete higher education in order to unfold their full potential.
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BM69 Resolutions 
Education must be excluded from the scope of trade agreements of EU, EEA and EFTA
ESU believes that TTIP, TiSA and future trade agreements which consider education as a tradeable commodity, are a threat to the intrinsic values of education and will have irreversible consequences on education systems. Therefore ESU urges for the exclusion of education as a whole from EU, EEA and EFTA trade agreements.
COP21 Resolution "Act local, think global"
The environmental balance of our planet is in danger. Due to unreasonable usage and exploitation of natural resources and uncontrolled release of greenhouse gases we have constantly been endangering our environment. Furthermore, climate change causes a loss of biodiversity, more frequent natural catastrophes, and serious threats to natural balance of our planet. These changes turn out to be a humanitarian crisis, as a serious share of the world population will in soon be seriously affected by the climate change consequences or is already suffering. This situation of environmental crisis requires an urgent and strong answer.
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Danish Government must uphold funding for Global Partnership for Education
On the 4th of December, the Danish Government formally announced a revision of the state budget for 2016. The budget sees the second cut of 100 million DKK (approx. 13.4 million EUR) in the Danish contributions to the Global Partnership for Education  in just a few months, following the initial cut of 200 million DKK (approx. 26.9 million EUR) announced in late-September. With this announcement, Denmark has cut 75% of its support in less than a year.
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Education cuts in Denmark
We, the students of Europe, find it very disappointing that the Danish government has decided to create historically large educational budget cuts. It is unrealistic to think that you can enforce such large budget cuts on education, without it having severe consequences for the education quality. Education is a core institution of our society and one of the main pillars of modern civilization. It plays a central role in social and economic development, democratic empowerment and the advancement of the general well-being of societies.
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ESU commits to actively fight racism and hate-speech
ESU commits to actively engage in fighting hate-speech, starting from the Higher Education Institutions The European Students' Union rejects all forms of cultural and ethnic discrimination, which is the result of racism and extreme nationalism.
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ESU supports Higher Education Law Reform in Republic of Srpska
Based on the principles of Bologna process and student participation in decision process making in the field of Higher education, European Student Union strongly supports Student Union Republic of Srpska in their effort for adoption of the revised Higher education law in Republic of Srpska
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Finland must take prompt action to adopt the National Qualifications
The 69th Board Meeting of the European Students' Union (ESU) demands that the Finnish Government, without delay, prepares a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for degrees and competencies and makes a proposal to Parliament in spring 2016.
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Quality doesn't grow on Fees
NUS UK are deeply concerned by the latest reforms announced by the UK government in their recent Higher Education Green Paper, whereby they propose to link the measurement of quality with the further marketization of our education system.
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Finland must take prompt action to adopt the National Qualifications
The 69th Board Meeting of the European Students' Union (ESU) demands that the Finnish Government, without delay, prepares a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for degrees and competencies and makes a proposal to Parliament in spring 2016.
Read more
Resolution to urge the Spanish candidates to support the Vote For Education Manifesto
The Spanish citizenship is called to elect their next president on the 20th of December 2015, and CREUP, the National Union of Students of Spain, has developed the campaign 'Vote for Education' to call for all the candidates to commit with the Spanish Higher Education through signing a Manifesto created by a participative and transparent process conducted among all Spanish students.
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UK to remain a part of European Union
In the UK, a Referendum on our membership of the EU will take place by 2017, which if results in a 'No' vote, will seriously negatively impact prospective and current European students in UK, the UK Higher Education system and student mobility across Europe.
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ESU in the Press

Upcoming Events

9-12 March 2016: European Students' Convention 31
 9-14 May 2016: Board Meeting 70 and Board Meeting Seminar

Current ESU Projects 
Below is a list of projects ESU is participating in as a Partner or Team Leader. 

Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE)

Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy & Practice (EQUIP)
European Forum for Enhanced Collaboration in Teaching (EFFECT)