We would like to encourage the Ministers of Higher Education and research of the EU to focus on areas of recognition and qualifications.
We believe that the European Values we protect are facing difficult challenges. As Young European Citizens, we value and respect principles of dignity of human life, equality, freedom, justice, security, and responsibility, the rule of law and democracy. We are focused in encouraging the solidarity among all Europeans. It is important that a European Model is promoted and that we must tackle and address the matters and problems that a European of the 21st century is facing in the time where circumstances and needs are changing. As EDS we are convinced that the effective implementation of visa facilitations will make it possible to envisage a structured dialogue along the path towards a visa free travel regime for all members of the European Higher Education Area.
JUSTICE & SECURITY
The expansion of the European Union, brought closer to the rest of the world through the process of globalization, has increased dependency both within the Union and with third countries. A more insecure world marked by ongoing military conflicts in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation and threats of terrorism have affected the safety of the European Community and the values it upholds. The EU must follow and adhere to a coherent security strategy. The EU should impose demands on third countries that violate fundamental human rights. As EDS we believe in the formulation of a security strategy with a common concept of European Security, the creation of a voluntary European Defence Union to facilitate the sharing of resources, in the elimination of wasteful spending and the creation of a permanent European framework of intelligence cooperation to combat against terrorism and crime. Finally it is vital that threats of drug trade, human trafficking, internal terrorism and migration is combated, that Frontex is strengthened and that a European Coast Guard is formulated.
European Democrat Students believe in freedom (of an individual, of expression, of press, movement) as long as it does not harm anyone else. We are calling for the respect of human dignity and human rights according to the European Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, we condemn death penalty, modern slavery, forced labour, children labour and child soldiers. We support democratic values, consider education as a right, are against any kind of discrimination (racial, sexual preferences, religious, gender…). We also believe that minorities should be respected because they represent an important feature of the social diversity in every country. We also call for the respect of private and family life. Finally, we stand against crimes, terrorism and all other forms of violence. We strongly condemn political and religious leaders, who allowed religiously motivated violence to run rampant for their own domestic purpose but also the compliancy of European leaders who did not defend freedom of speech. As a student organization, we support the goal of universal primary level education. We are sure that education is essential for integration and prevention from human rights violations. We support the international initiatives to improve the supervision and regulation of suppressing human trafficking and to regulate its collateral phenomenon of illegal immigration.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION
EDS believes in the promotion of an entrepreneurial mind-set. Entrepreneurial skills should be taught and applied in the job market. It is important to encourage Member States to incorporate the education of entrepreneurial skills within the school and higher education curriculum in order to promote the concept of self-employment, which improves economic fortunes and ultimately contributes to the strengthening of the European economy. Research, Innovation and Digital Skills need to be further developed and encouraged at all levels of education and in the workforce. Young European citizens encourage a fully digital education system, the breaking down of digital barriers to achieve a complete digital single market in Europe, digitalisation of public institutions, degrees which combine technological competence with other disciplines, the development of digital libraries and one-stop-shop for young entrepreneurs and start-ups.
One of the most important challenges the EU faces is the formation of a comprehensive security policy. Although the cooperation in this field throughout the years has proved hard to be achieved, the Member States have always understood the necessity to act together in the field of foreign policy and defence. European Democrat Students strongly support the common foreign strategies built by such as Eastern Partnership. We believe that EU should continue to implement policies that increase the level of security of its citizens. These policies however must be drafted deliberately respecting the civil rights and freedoms. We suggest that further improvements should be made in developing effective intelligence capabilities, in ensuring better cooperation amongst the national border units, particularly on the EU outer borders, in enhancing coordination of police forces through the European Police (EUROPOL) by adopting common training activities and facilitating information flow between the EUROPOL and civilian ESDP missions. EDS comprehends that the European Union and NATO share common strategic interests and acknowledges the importance of transatlantic partnership. A close cooperation between NATO and EU, respecting neutrality as well as security commitments, is essential for optimization of resources in the field of defence and security. EDS is in favour of the EU-NATO dialogue that enhances strategic cooperation avoiding duplication of effort and improving tactics to combat new security risks such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber-threats and failed States.
We would like to encourage the Ministers of Higher Education and research of the EU to focus on areas of recognition and qualifications. It is of highest importance for student mobility that an education gains full recognition also when it is conducted in another EHEA country. The main obstacle for many students to study in other EU countries is the insecurity over whether degrees and courses from other countries will be valued and recognized. We encourage the pursuit of easily readable and comparable degrees, which are essential for students’ mobility and the competitiveness of the EHEA. We believe that increased student mobility can be obtained without university autonomy being in jeopardy. Standardizations leading to similar content and goals in all universities cannot be the aim of a multicultural Europe.
Instead, universities must be allowed to compete for foreign students, while a standard university evaluation is agreed upon to objectively assess university education quality around Europe. Providing incentives to students with the aim to induce them to apply to study abroad can be very beneficial where the interest to study abroad is low. Therefore EDS proposes that National governments shall provide HEIs with the necessary tools for enhancing cooperation, while safeguarding the HEIs autonomy. EDS believes that HEIs play a crucial role in this process and need to fulfil their responsibility. We believe that funds must be raised that can enable students to study in any country of the EHEA and safeguard a decent standard of living. That requires an increase in the number of grants awarded as well as increase in the amount for the individual. We believe that there should be financial incentives for HEIs for an increase in cooperation with other HEIs. That would also allow HEIs to operate more efficiently and by encouraging administrative structures.
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