December 4th 2007: Decisions of the 53rd European Students Union (ESU) Board Meeting concerning the Ukrainian student movement marked a very important step in the history of both the Ukrainian student movement and ESU. The history of contact and cooperation between Ukrainian students and ESU goes back to 2002. During the evaluation of the Ukrainian students movement since this time, it became quite clear to ESU, that there were two national unions of students in Ukraine that could potentially become ESU members:
The Ukrainian Association of Students Self-governments (UASS) and the All-Ukrainian Students Council (USC). ESU statutes allow more than one union per country to become a member and the ESU strongly supported the applications for candidacy of both members.
At the 53rd Board Meeting, ESU decided to grant full membership to UASS. This was possible due to the incredible developments this organization has made. UASS is therefore the first Ukrainian student union to join ESU. In order to underline the importance put towards the Ukrainian students movement, the ESU Board decided to implement a Ukraine Working Group to promote and support this movement. An agreement between ESU and UASS was made to improve some structural and organizational issues by means of close cooperation through the Ukraine Working Group.
This same Working Group also has the important task of remaining in close contact with the second national union, USC, which unfortunately could not be accepted as a full member yet. The fact that USC’s application was turned down does not mean that ESU has given up on this organization or gives more credit to UASS than to them. ESU found that USC was still too young and needed more time to build itself up organizationally, just as UASS did after their first application was turned down in 2003. Through the creation of the Ukraine Working Group, ESU has declared its’ willingness to assist USC during this process . ESU sees both organizations as representatives of Ukrainian students at the European level in the next few years.
Bartek Banaszak, member of the ESU Executive Committee and head of the study visit team, states, that “the members of this years study visit to Ukraine had a very positive view of the Ukrainian students movement as a whole and the work of both USC and UASS. We hope to both teach and learn from these young organizations, when we closely cooperate in future. We are happy to welcome UASS as a member and are looking forward to preparing USC for membership within the next few years.”