About Us

About EDS

European Democrat Students (EDS) as pan-European centre-right student and youth political association is the official student organisation of the European People’s Party (EPP). Founded in Vienna by Scandinavian, German and Austrian students in 1961, our organisation represents over a million students and young people in 39 member organisations from 33 countries in Europe. This makes us the largest youth organisation in Europe.

Mission and Vision

Our aim is to promote a free, democratic and united Europe through greater student mobility and comprehensive education policies across the continent. European Democrat Students has been always a frontrunner in integration, fighting for open borders, united Europe and European debate in European politics. The three pillars of EDS originally stood for conservatism, liberalism and Christian democracy. Today, we grew into a large family which has an outlook that is various, rich and unique, represented by the name ‘Democrat’: Here, student organisations, political youth organisations and other centre-right organisations come together to shape modern centre-right policies for Europe.

The working year of our organisation begins with the Summer University held between June and August every year. During this event the EDS council as main controlling body with consists of all Member Organisations, gathers together to debate about current affairs, adopts political motions and elects a new Executive Bureau. The Executive Bureau represents EDS externally and runs the day-to-day work. During the working year EDS organises various events, such as Council Meetings, Study Missions and Skills Workshops. The Council Meetings as main events are accompanied by the in-house magazine BullsEye (bullseye-magazine.eu) a debating outlet and to students, as well as senior figures of political, academic and public life.

Our History - How everything started

In July and August 1958 a group of Swedish students travelled to Vienna, Prague and Berlin. In Berlin the SKS-delegation attended the Annual Meeting of RCDS. A bilateral cooperation was initiated that was soon enlarged to a multilateral one with student organisations from the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Germany. The immediate impression of Germany’s division, the dangerous political heritage of Europe and the increasing activities of the communist organisation “International Union of Students” (IUS) was the motivation to get involved. The importance of international cooperation became obvious, when the IUS organised the “7th World Youth Festival” in Vienna in 1959. In response, centre-right students established the “Action Committee New Life” (“Arbeitsgemeinschaft Neues Leben”, ANL), the first (temporary) organisation of centre-right students in Europe. Some thousand pins were distributed, with the slogan “Remember Hungary 1956!”. Since ANL-activists established relations to students from Hungary and Poland, traumatising the communist organisers, which even had to separate the student-participants of the festival, since they had to be carryed from event to event in locked buses.

The Vienna-experience must have been encouraging. Soon it was decided to upgrade the centre-right student meetings (particularly in the divided Berlin) to regular International Student Conferences (ISC). The first ISC took place in Copenhagen and Stockholm in April 1960. Until 1970, 15 International Student Conferences and a couple of smaller events were organised. Topics of the conferences were covered almost all areas of politics. In order to institutionalise this cooperation, “The International of Christian-Democrat and Conservative Students” (ICCS) was founded at the 3rd International Student Conference in Vienna in 1961. ICCS defined itself as the “first avantgarde fighter for the protection of the principles of liberty and individualism” and supported European economic integration and programmes for student mobility. Five Western European political student organisations decided to sign the new constitution on May 13: Gerhard Brunner, host of the founding conference and President of the constituting Council Meeting, for Freie Österreichische Studentenschaft (FÖST, Austria), Ulf Hellners for DK (Denmark), Dieter Ibielski for RCDS (Germany), Halvor Bache-Halvorsen for DKSF (Norway), and Carl-Henrik Winquist for SKS (Sweden). Soon after, John Barnes from FUCUA (Britain, October 27, 1961) and Juan Roberti from ESC (Belgium, December 10, 1962) signed. From then on, an alternative to the Moscow-financed IUS existed. The student uprising in the late sixties showed, how important that was.

The increasing importance of European politics and the difficulties in making the international approach a reality stirred up an intense debate on the future identity of the organisation, including a discussion of the name ICCS. “It was the general feeling at Vienna [1969] that the present name is the biggest obstacle in getting contacts,” as Heikki von Hertzen, Finnish Secretary General, expressed. Hence the name “ECCS”, suggested by Ian Taylor, was adopted in 1970. Neither did the new name account for much consent. Less than half a decade later, the Swede Carl Bildt proposed a more neutral name which would better emphasise the organisation’s objective to establish a (centre-right) European Democrat Party: “European Democrat Students”. The new name was finally adopted on 5 June 1975. It has remained with the organisation ever since.

Structure and Function

Board Members - Meet the team

Beppe Galea
Chairman
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Vladimir Kljajić
Secretary General
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Dora Mikatek
Vice-Chairwoman
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Agata Czyzewska
VICE-CHAIRWOMAN
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Rayno D. Stoyanov
VICE-CHAIRMAN
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Ramón Riera
Vice-Chairman
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Iryna Shatokhina
VICE-CHAIRWOMAN
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Axel Mouffron
VICE-CHAIRMAN
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Francesco Alimena
VICE-CHAIRMAN
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Katerina Kyriacou
Vice-chairwoman
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Damjan Konjanovski
Deputy Secretary General
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Carlo Giacomo Angrisano Girauta
HONORARY CHAIRMAN
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Ivan Botoucharov
EXTERNAL RELATIONS DIRECTOR
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