16.10.2007
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Birthday Wishes from the European Commission

On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to express my congratulations to the European Students’ Union on its 25th anniversary. As you know, the EU is also celebrating an anniversary of its own-its 50th. There is a similarity in our histories: when seven national unions of students decided in 1982 to set up the West European Student Information Bureau an end to the Cold War was not in sight and you had to start setting up the core of a European body that was, for the time being, restricted to only part of the continent.

Like the European Union, you were quick to reach out to the eastern partners after 1989 and if the “enlargement” of the European student body has been a success story it is largely due to ESIB/ESU.

Another similarity is between ESU and the European Commission. Both organisations have joined the Bologna Process in 2001, at the first post-Bologna Ministerial Conference in Prague. In countless meetings, conferences and working groups, we at the European Commission have come to know the student representatives from ESU as highly professional, critical and constructive. This is probably due to the fact that by the time they reach ESU levels, students’ political leaders-that is what you are, after all-have been seasoned by hard work in committees, discussions and elections at regional, national and European level. Through the Erasmus programme, we have provided funding to a number of successful ESU projects; such as the very readable reports “Bologna with student eyes”, and have often found ourselves on the same side in discussions on the future of European higher education. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your work and achievements. We are looking forward to many more years of fmitful cooperation.

Jan Figel

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