Thematic Focus

Wednesday, 3rd of April 2013: 5 - 7 pm 


Lecture of Prof. Ulrich Teichler,

"The Bologna Reform: Experiences of the First Decade and Challenges Ahead"

followed by a panel discussion with Lucille Rieux (Secretary General of AEGEE-Europe), Emauel Alfranseder (President of ESN - Erasmus Student Network) and Karina Ufert (Chairperson of ESU - European Students' Union).



The operative main target of the Bologna Process – the introduction of similarly structured courses of studies and degrees throughout Europe –is accompanied by many other operative aims and is supposed to contribute to many basic changes in teaching and studies offered at higher education institutions throughout Europe. Most frequently it is emphasized that hereby students' cross-border mobility is promoted and most important is perhaps the less mentioned intention to popularize relatively short courses of studies. Now, more than one decade later, it becomes apparent that the operative aims triggered great changes indeed, but in detail the European countries have chosen a remarkable variety of solutions. The mobility within Europe hardly rose through the Bologna reform, however it made more students from other parts of the world come to Europe. The transition to vocation after a short course of studies spread less strongly than it was hoped for by countries with formerly long courses of studies. Political balances did not result into the continuation or modification of aims, but rather into the announcement of numbers which show the unaltered line of approach.

                            Prof. Ulrich Teichler


                                                                                                                                 Emauel Alfranseder                          

ESN is a strong supporter of the Bologna process. The Erasmus programme and the resultant increased student mobility can be considered as one of the driving forces behind the initiation of the Bologna process. We believe that the European Higher Education Area is the future of European education. Nevertheless, a lot of work remains to be done.

ESN has extensively worked on the academic recognition of exchange studies. In this context, we see progress in many areas of the Bologna progress also as conducive for student mobility. The more seamless the differences between different education systems are, the easier it will be to spend a period abroad. In particular, the universal usage of ECTS is something we advocate for.

We want to stress that we believe very much in unity in diversity and the long academic traditions should always be taken into account, not everything can be made universal. Further progress and harmonisation in many areas is, however, desirable.  Easier and under certain conditions automatic recognition of full degrees and the subsequent recognition and acceptance of degrees on the labour market are areas where further progress needs to be made.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



AEGEE has been supporting the Bologna Process since the beguining. As a youth organisation representing young students all over Europe, we strongly advocate for the creation of a united and harmonized higher education area in Europe, in order to increase and ease youth mobility inside the education system. The Bologna Process is a long-term initiative, which also has received a lot of resistence from the members' states and the young people, in the implementation. AEGEE has been working toward raising awarness of young people on that matter, organising events and activities in order to inform young people about the consequences and changes of the Bologna Process, and making sure they are actively involved in this process.

Even if the mobility of young people has significantly been eased, there are still several steps to be implemented in order to achieve the creation of a real common higher education area. 
 In particular we see that certain areas need further action:
  • the further promotion of mobility of all parties involved in Education, also removing the still remaining structural barriers to free – horizontal and vertical - mobility
  • the building of the European Identity through Higher Education, whilst preserving cultural differences, a tool for this should be the promotion of use of foreign languages, especially English
  • the recognition of non-formal education as a part of curricula
  • the involvement of all European countries – also those of South East Europe, Eastern Europe and Turkey – in the process, and especially in the mobility programmes

                           Lucille Rieux    



              Sunday, 7th of April 2013: 11 am - 2 pm


Panel discussion on the topic of "Facing the Crisis: The 2014 European Parliament elections and the role of young voters with Miroslaw Krzanik (European Youth Forum), Martin Fischer (Vice President of JEF Europe – Young European Federalists), Tobias Dörk (Research fellow, University of Düsseldorf, Institute of Social Sciences, Doctorate Program “Linkage in Democracy”) and Aleksandra Kluczka (AEGEE European Election 2014 project).


2014 and the European elections will bring an excellent opportunity to change the approach towards youth. Issues that concern young people across the continent have to be mainstreamed across all policies and by all political groups in Europe. Young people cannot continue just being at the heart of concerns now and subsequently bear the costs of the current system for the next 50 years. Young people have a right to be young now, and not only to be seen as future workers, pensioners, and consumers - this right needs to be reaffirmed. Young people should enjoy their full rights matching their duties as citizens already today. To change the current dynamics and offer a fair deal across generations, we need a New Deal for and with Youth! This New Deal implies a new mindset toward youth policies, building on a rights based approach and encompassing key measures in line with the following principles: a European Union with competences matching current challenges; more Citizens’ participation in decision-making; sustainable policies; investing in employment; a social model that is fair for all and accessible quality education.

                                        Miroslaw Krzanik      




JEF Europe strives for a Europe united in democracy, freedom and solidarity. Voting in European elections is more than just a citizens right, it is an act of responsibility for your own future and of self-determination. Especially in times of crisis it is of utmost importance to make your vote count and not have others decide for you. Nationalist attitudes try to break appart the European Union and leave the member states to their own fate. A successful EU must stand united with it's citizens and find pan-European solutions to common problems.



                                                                                                                                                                            Martin Fischer          



The role of the European Parliament (EP) is special in the European Union (EU). It is the only institution that is elected directly by the people that means the only possibility for the voters to take direct influence in its constitution.
However the participation in that election is decreasing throughout time: from over 60 % in 1979 to only 43% in 2009. There are several reasons mentioned for that:
- a lack of knowledge about the EU and its mode of operation in general and the function and power of the EP in specific
- a lack of media coverage and thus
a lack of awareness in public
That’s why in former years the elections to the EP were used as elections in which national topics were dominant and national governments were confirmed or punished. European topics were secondary. To raise awareness and participation in the upcoming elections political parties should focus on specific European topics and emphasize the role and power of the European Parliament.

                                     Tobias Dörk

Political participation in general and especially the political participation of the youth have shifted. Classic forms of political participation as to vote or the membership in political parties are decreasing. Short term engagement in demonstrations and activist groups is more popular amongst younger people. Also the internet offers new possibilities for political participation. Nevertheless only the absolute minority is politically engaged.
It is discussed in literature whether a small interest in politics is a good sign or a bad sign for democracy. On the one hand it could signalize apathy and frustration with the political system. On the other hand low numbers of political participation could show a silent affirmation of the system and satisfaction with its outcome.

So now the current crisis could produce a higher level of voter participation, because European topics and the elections of the EP are more in focus and people have to inform about function and power of its institutions. Or the level of voter participation will decrease even more, as voters are frustrated and do not think the EP can influence decisions that are made on other levels.
The upcoming elections of the EP will show which hypothesis is right…


The Y Vote 2014 team aims to turn students and first-time voters into actors of the European Parliamentary Elections in 2014 by informing end encouraging them to participate. We are planning to achieve this by undertaking actions both on the European and local level. One of the activities will include creating the Youth Agenda, a set of recommendations for the MEPs concerning European policy given by young representatives, participants of international conferences organised within the project. Another initiative will involve the development of a Voting Guide, which would provide young people with the information about all European political parties with their programmes and vision of Europe. Y Vote 2014 team is also planning to initiate and support various events organised on the local level, such as debates, meetings with different stakeholders (including MEPs), happenings, videos or contests.

We believe that the reason why young people do not participate in the elections is the fact that they are not aware of the direct impact that the decisions of the EP have on their lives, some of them also lack the sense of European citizenship. Our campaign would be a response to this situation, we would like to strengthen youth's sense of European citizenship, increase theitr awareness concerning the competencies of the EP and bring the EU closer to them. We would like to foster youth participation and enable them to make an informed choice.

We believe that the best cure for euroscepticism is showing the citizens the direct impact the EU has on their daily lives and the benefits they obtain. This can be done for instance by presenting some of the success stories concerning the achievements of the EP such as decreasing the costs of roaming or rejecting ACTA. Eurosceptics often take for granted the benefits from the EU, at the same time blaming it for most of their problems. In our campaign we would like to point out the advantages coming from the membership in the EU and also start a dialogue with the eurosceptics participating in our debates and conferences. Also, one of our conferences will probably be devoted to the topic of euroscepticism.

Member States of the EU often tend to attribute the benefits coming from it as their own achievements but on the other hand they blame the EU for their failures. This is a very dangerous trend, which is partly responsible for the recent growth of euroscepticism in Europe. Changing the attitudes of the Member States would be a significant step in fighting with euroscepticism. Another issue is education, introducing discussion classes concerning European citizenship and intercultural dialogue would definitely strenghten new generations' sense of European identity and international solidarity and understanding.                                                     Aleksandra Kluczka




The discussion panels will be moderated by Johan Wagner.



Johan Wagner has gathered experience in scientific and political discussion processes in different networks, among others in the Collaborative Research Center Representations of Changing Social Order” in Berlin and the Franco-German doctoral college Paris-Berlin. The ERASMUS Programme brought him to Brussels and aroused an interest for European integration issues. Consequently, he finished a doctoral thesis on the evolution of representations of Europe in French and German think tanks after the fall of the wall. In the framework of his research, he worked repeatedly together with different humanities research institutes organised in the Max Weber Foundation in Istanbul, Moscow and Paris.