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ESU urges EU Council to invest more in higher education

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) calls upon the EU heads of state and government, meeting in Brussels on 4 February, to make decent investments in the access to higher education if they want to make the innovation and research part of the EU2020 Strategy work. According to ESU, the students of today are the ones that will have to bring excellence in research and innovation in the future.

In the afternoon session of the EU Council, leaders will focus on innovation and research, an important part of the EU2020 Strategy. They will call for ‘a strategic and integrated approach to boost innovation and Europe’s intellectual capital’. ESU’s Chairperson, Bert Vandenkendelaere: “However, we can see that all around the EU, governments are cutting deep in their education budgets. This contradicts the EU’s efforts to create an EU-wide smart, sustainable and inclusive economy where education is accessible to everyone. If we want talent later on, we need to foster its development right now, even when it is hidden at first sight.”Lack of open debate
Despite the promise of a transparent and public debate on the national reform programmes, to be drafted by the member states based on the EU2020 Strategy, key stakeholders in education, such as national unions of students, have been left out. The lack of open debate and an unsatisfying number of published drafts, indicates according to ESU that the process so far is mainly a letter exchange between bureaucrats on the national level and in the Commission.

Vandenkendelaere: “This lack of political openness and will to discuss the reform programmes, could seriously undermine the grass root implementation and public acceptance of the EU 2020 Strategy.”


Published 3 February 2011

For more information, please contact:

Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson: +32473669892/ or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894/


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