CIVIS students share their impressions of the first ever European Student Assembly
This article was written by Alexandra Soulioti and Εkaterina-Michaela Tomou, CIVIS Ambassadors from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
"On 3 and 4 March 2022, the first European Student Assembly was held in Strasbourg (France) with the participation of 38 university alliances, including the CIVIS Alliance. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) was represented by Soulioti Alexandra (CIVIS ambassador of NKUA), Tomou Εkaterina-Michaela (CIVIS ambassador of NKUA), and Borboli Haido. Specifically, a total of 275 students representing 139 European Universities from 28 different countries participated.
The purpose of this meeting was to exchange ideas between students focusing on ten different issues – topics that are significant challenges for the future of Europe. The students started their discussions in January 2022 and were invited to form proposals (manifesto) to be considered by the European Institutions in the framework of the Conference of the Future of Europe. In addition, this meeting aimed to express students' opinions, promote student participation in European actions, strengthen cooperation between the various University alliances, and encourage students to take initiatives and contribute to the European democratic process. On the first day, Mrs Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Member of the European Parliament, welcomed the students to the European Parliament, where a guided tour took place afterwards.
Thereafter, the Conference's opening ceremony occurred at the main hall of the University of Strasbourg, where students attended a series of exciting speeches by distinguished personalities. On the second day, the conference started with a roundtable discussion focusing on reshaping the European democratic future through student engagement, and subsequently, the students were divided into their assigned panels, which are listed below:
- How can the European Union reunite its people around its common values?
- How can the European Union become more resilient to cyber-attacks?
- From what we have learned during the pandemic, do we need a European Health Union?
- What Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the future?
- What economic model can the European Union adopt for tomorrow’s world and how can it be durably settled?
- How should the European democracy of tomorrow look like?
- How can the European Union regulate digital platforms without limiting freedom of speech?
- How should the European Union position itself in a globalized world, vis-à-vis other actors?
- How should the European Union prepare to deal with climate refugees?
- How to build future-oriented, digitalized, and yet inclusive higher education systems across the European Union?
Each panel formed and agreed to 10 proposals, which were presented to all conference participants and passed-voted by all.
It is worth mentioning that throughout the Congress, as well as from the beginning of this initiative, the organization was highly regulated and admirable, with all the members who contributed to the realization of this action being cooperative and willing to help. We feel very grateful to have participated in the European Student Assembly and cooperated with students from different alliances, hoping that this first meeting will be the starting point for the organization of future European Actions."