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The European Students’ Union (ESU) is the umbrella organisation of 45 national unions of students’ from 40 European countries. ESU promotes and represents the educational, social, economic and cultural interests of almost 20 million students to all key European decision-making bodies: the European Union, Council of Europe, UNESCO and the Bologna Follow Up Group.

Throughout the years, ESU has witnessed many internal and external changes while continuously developing itself to what it is right now: a professional advocacy and capacity building organisation that is influential and recognised as an important stakeholder at the European and international level.

ESU turns 40!

Quality, equity and accessibility 

Besides representing the views, needs and perspectives of European students, ESU aims to ensure and strengthen students’ participation and to increase the student input into higher education policy and decision making at the local, national and European level.

ESU promotes a higher education system based on the values of quality, equity and accessibility for all.

Another important aim for ESU is to be renowned and respected as a source of expertise on higher education policy at all institutional levels and to build links and foster an exchange of information, ideas and experiences among students and student platforms at a regional and global level.

Delegations from the 45 national unions of students meet during ESU events that take place four times a year.The meetings give delegates the opportunity to meet face-to-face and create strength and unity. The most important meeting is the bi-annual Board Meeting which is the highest decision making body of ESU. During this meeting, ESU representatives are elected and policy priorities are decided upon. Each board meeting is preceded by a high-level seminar (the European Students’ Convention – ESC) to build knowledge and skills on a relevant topic. In 2010, these topics were the linkage between the Lisbon Agenda and the Bologna Process and student centred learning. The bi-annual ESCs are packed with training sessions, workshops and seminars to help unions both function better internally and perform better externally.

ESU regularly produces publications, such as the Student Centred Learning Toolkit (published in 2010) and provides training to increase the knowledge of the national students’ unions and provide them with valuable tools for their work. All written materials are provided free of charge, while attendance at training is heavily subsidised through projects that are mainly funded by the European Commission.

From WESIB to ESU

ESU was founded in 1982 by seven national unions of students (NSU Norway, NUS-UK, SFS Sweden, SHÍ Iceland, UNEF-ID France, DSF Denmark and ÖH Austria) and back then was called WESIB, the West European Student Information Bureau. The political changes in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s affected WESIB as well, as it opened up itself to national unions of students from the former east.

In February 1990, WESIB dropped the “W” to become the European Student Information Bureau (ESIB). As the European Communities started to gain more influence on higher education in Europe and certainly with the start of the Bologna Process, the objective from just an information sharing organisation changed into to a political organisation that represents the views and interests of students.

In May 2007 it was decided that ESIB needed to change its name as the ESIB acronym no longer represented the work of the organization and ESIB changed its name into the European Students’ Union (ESU).

At an extraordinary Board Meeting held in Florence, Italy, from 28 to 30 September 2014, it was decided to dissolve formally the organisation ESIB Austria.


On the 27th of December, the Belgian official registry (Moniteur Belge) announced the merger of ESIB – The National Union of Students in Europe and ESU – The European Students Union. Since then the two organisations are one legal entity which carries the name and abbreviation “The European Students Union- ESU”.


The last steps of the merger took place at the Extraordinary Board meetings in Cardiff October 2017 and at the regular Board meetings in Jerusalem in December 2017. On the 12th of December 10:00 the official rapporteur of both organisations, Caroline Sundberg got the notary’s declaration.

ESIB’s and ESU’s structures

The organisation operated on several levels before they were integrated gradually in one main Executive Committee, following exhaustive organisational reforms that were carried out in conjunction with the formation of the new European Students’ Union (ESU).

It is due to the generous contribution of student representatives to ESU’s work that the organisation became a major participant in policymaking processes in higher education in Europe. When ESU was still called WESIB and ESIB, the organisation was lead early on by National Unions of Students and later on by Directors together with Executive Committees until the formation of ESU in 2007. Since 2007 ESU has been led by a Presidency (President + 2 Vice Presidents) together with an Executive Committee as well as Coordinators. Mandates last a year, regularly starting in July and ending in June the following year.

To learn more about ESU’s current structure, including the contact details of ESU’s President, Vice Presidents and Executive Committee, click here.

Expand to see the list of ESU’s previous Executive constellations:

2007 – Now (ESU)
YearPresidentVice PresidentsExecutive CommitteeCoordinators
2023-2024Horia-Șerban Onița
 
Iris Kimizoglu  , Tanguy Guibert   Andrej Pirjevec, Ana Gvritishvili, Arno Schrooyen, Ida Flemmich, Tamara Ciobanu, Lana Par (from September, replacing Joanna Maruszczak), Magnus Streym (from September, replacing Tór Marni Weihe), Joanna Maruszczak (until September), Tór Marni Weihe (until September)Emily MacPherson, Bastien Degardins, Lauren Pray
2022-2023Matteo Vespa Katrīna Sproģe , Horia-Șerban Onița Tanguy Guibert, Iris Kimizoglu, Andrej Pirjevec, Emily MacPherson, Tór Marni Weihe, Oraz Myradov, Ana GvritishviliAntoine Bakhash, Joanna Maruszczak, Sandi Rizvić
2021-2022Martina Darmanin Zamzam Ibrahim , Jakub Grodecki Matteo Vespa, Kristel Jakobson, Martin Hammerbauer, Pegi Pavletić, Ruben Janssens, Meral Nur, Stanimir BoyadzhievKatrīna Sproģe, Borna Nemet, Anastasia Kreis
2021Martina Darmanin Zamzam Ibrahim , Jakub Grodecki Matteo Vespa, Kristel Jakobson, Martin Hammerbauer, Pegi Pavletić, Ruben Janssens, Ronja Hesse, Otto RosenlundVicky Reichling, Borna Nemet, Carmen Romero (until June), Katrīna Sproģe (substituting Carmen Romero)
2020 (Oct.-Dec-)Gohar Hovhannisyan (Oct.-Dec. 2020) Martina Darmanin , Sebastian Berger 
Monika Skadborg, Ursa Leban, Nina De Winter, Rajko Golovic, Helene Mariaud, Daniel Altman, Jakub GrodeckiMartin Paluoja, Daniel Lindblom (until November), Carmen Romero (substituting Daniel Lindblom)
2019-2020 (until Sept. 2020)Robert Napier Gohar Hovhannisyanm , Sebastian Berger Daniel Altman, Jakub Grodecki, Monika Skadborg, Ursa Leban, Nina De Winter, Rajko Golovic, Helene MariaudMartina Darmanin, Daniel Lindblom, Martin Paluoja
2018-2019Adam Gajek Katrina Koppel , Robert Napier Daniel Altma, Joāo Martins, Gohar Hovhannisyan, Monika Skadborg, Sebastian Berger, Ursa Leban, Yulia DobyshukRob Henthorn, Hélène Mariaud, Marie Desrousseaux, (1st part of mandate), Martina Darmanin (substituting Marie Desrousseaux)
2017-2018Helge Schwitters Caroline Sundberg , Adam Gajek Chiara Patricolo, Aleksandar Šušnjar, Filip Prihoda, Gohar Hovhannisyan, João Pedro Estêvão Martins, Katrina Koppel, Yolanda Trujillo AdriáSimona Gamonte, Patrick Dempsey, Robert Henthorn
2016-2017Lea Meister Līva Vikmane , Blazhe Todorovski Beth Button, Gramoz Shpendi, Adam Gajek, Aleksandar Šušnjar, Frederik Bach, Chiara Patricolo, Milana Jankovic (1st part of mandate), Helga Lind Mar (substituting Milana Jankovic)Melanie Fröhlich, Filip Prihoda, Helge Schwitters
2015-2016Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares Lea Meister , Blazhe Todorovski Liva Vikmane, Karolina Pietkiewicz, Cristi Popescu, Rebecka Stenkvist, Tijana Isoski, Viktor GrønneMelanie Fröhlich, Chiara Patricolo, Martin Retelj
2014-2015Elisabeth Gehrke Erin Nordal , Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares Blazhe Todorovski, Maksimas Milta, Cat O’Driscoll, Karolina Pietkiewicz, Lea Meister, Tiago Estêvão Martins, Tijana IsoskiMelanie Fröhlich, William Benn, Viktor Grønne
2013-2014Rok Primozic Elisabeth Gehrke , Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares, Erin Nordal, Elin Blomqvist, Nevena Vuksanovic, Blazhe Todorovski, Maroš Korman, Maksim Milto, Michael Tolentino FrederiksenGabriela Bergan, Tiago Estêvão Martins, Aengus Ó Maoláin (1st part of mandate), Melanie Fröhlich (substituting Aengus Ó Maoláin)
2012-2013Karina Ufert Taina Moisander , Rok Primozic Fernando M.Galan Palomares, Florian Kaiser, Blazhe Todorovski, Tinja Zerzer, Nevena Vuksanovic, Elisabeth Gehrke, Liliya IvanovaAengus Ó Maoláin, Karl Agius, Brikena Xhomaqi (until November 2012), Gabriela Bergan (substituting Brikena Xhomaqi)
2011-2012Allan Päll Rok Primozic  Nevena Vuksanovic, Kaloyan Kostadinov
2010-2011Bert Vandenkendelaere Rasa Cincyte Robert Santa, Karina Ufert
2009-2010Ligia Deca
Allan Päll Andrea Blättler, Alma Joensen, Bert Vandenkendelaere
2008-2009Ligia Deca
Anita Lice Bruno Carapinha, Alma Joensen, Olav Øye
1996 – 2007 Directors & Executive Committees (ESIB)
YearDirectorExecutive Committee
2007Koen Geven  Anela Beso, Bartlomiej Banaszak, Lara Lena Tischler, Maria Noleryd, Matthew Tabone, Viorel Proteasa
2006Justin Fenech Maher Tekaya, Sime Visic, Marja-Liisa Alop, Tatsiana Khoma, Victor Vidilles, Janja Komljenovic
2005Vanja Ivosevic Öyvind Reidar Bakke, Justin Fenech, Marzia Foroni, Katja Kamsek, Jean-Baptiste Prévost, Marija Stambolieva
2004Johan Almqvist Marzia Foroni, Lene Henriksen, Vanja Ivosevic, Péter Puskás, Robin Semal, Chris Weavers
2003Stefan Bienefeld Johan Almqvist, Mads Aspelin, Nikki Heerens, Vanja Ivosevic, Marija Mitrovic, Bettina Schwarzmayr
2002Martina Vukasovic Petra Arsic, Stefan Bienefeld, John C. Friend-Pereira, Chris O’Sullivan
2001Jacob Henricson Stefan Bienefeld, Ante Matic, Marlous Veldt, Martina Vukasovic
2000Remi Bordu Polona Car, Aleksandar Dimiskov, Magne Hustavenes, Taru Liira
1999Antti Pentikäinen Remi Bourdu, Anja Kovacs, Marieke Rietbergen, Uros Vajgl
1998Peter Sondgaard Antti Pentikäinen, Judith Sargentini, Emese Szitasi, Hilde W. Wibe
1997Agnieszka Bolimowska Malcolm Byrne, Outi Hannula, Helena Randerborg, Reuben Seychell
1994-1996Stephen Grogan
1988 – 1996 Chairing Unions (WESIB/ESIB) & Directors
YearUnionCountryDirector (employed)
1996HÖKOSZHungaryStephen Grogan
1995SYLFinlandStephen Grogan
1994SYLFinlandStephen Grogan
1993SFSSweden
1992SFSSweden
1991VSS-UNES-USUSwitzerland
1990NUS UKUnited Kingdom
1989NUS UKUnited Kingdom
1988ÖHAustria

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