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European students call for more student participation in governance

BUDAPEST – During the 21st European Students’ Convention (ESC), taking place in Budapest from 15-18 February, national unions of students from 38 European countries will address the worrying signs that students’ participation in governance is increasingly under threat. The ESC, an official event of the Hungarian EU Presidency, jointly organised by the European Students’ Union (ESU) and its Hungarian member union HÖOK, will address in particular the case of Belarusian students participation.

ESU’s Chairperson Bert Vandenkendeleare: “We have all been shocked by the Belarusian authorities forbidding any bottom-up form of civil society, or any right to participation. But also in European democracies, such as Hungary, Romania and Greece we see new law proposals that reduce the rate of students’ participation in governance of higher education institutions, a right that our predecessors have constantly been fighting for. ” 

In recent months, several Belarusian students were jailed after protesting against the election of the Belarusian president Lukashenko in December and faced expulsion from their home universities. Besides the delegations from 38 European countries, Belarusian as well as Turkish and Moldavian students will also participate in the event.

During the ESC in Budapest, the around 100 students will discuss and map the emerging threats to students’ rights and will lay the foundations of an e-handbook on students’ participation. They will furthermore meet with the President of Hungary, Pál Schmitt. To conclude the convention, the students will send out a ‘Budapest declaration’ in which they demand that full student participation in decision-making processes is at the heart of Europe’s academic values. It will also address other the challenges European students face such as cuts in representation rights and freedom of speech.


Published 14 February 2011

For more information, please contact:
Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson: +32473669892/
Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894/


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