Statement on guaranteeing a voting right to students on mobility projects

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Statement on guaranteeing a voting right to students on mobility projects

Brussels, 21st January 2013

The active participation of all the citizens is absolutely required in any democratic society. The voting right is not the only way through which the active participation is realised, but of course this right is an unavoidable premise to guarantee the equality of all the people and freedom of the expression of their political will. It is absolutely crucial that citizens, especially young ones, exercise this right, as guaranteed in any constitution.

Nowadays, more and more higher education institutions are opening up to an international level and in particular some mobility projects, such as the Erasmus Programme, are encouraging the students to spend a part of their studies in other countries. It is a fundamental brick to build a cohesive European community; based on respect to difference we might face. Participation in mobility programmes is also a unique opportunity for young people to gain skills, highly valued in academic life and labour market. However, even while being abroad for a study period, we need to make sure that citizens have their right to participate in general elections and there should be conditions set to allow this happen in the country of their studies.

Italy will have its national elections on the 24th and 25th of February 2013. A lot of Italian students, which are studying abroad thanks to student mobility schemes, such as Erasmus, still do not have the right to vote in the country they are stay for their study period. Therefore we have 25 000 Italian students that are not going to see their vote right recognised just because they have chosen to get involved in a mobility scheme.

We are firmly convinced that the voting right is a fundamental right in a democracy and we urge, that all the students studying abroad would have the opportunity to participate to the next elections. Each state should promote an appropriate system for voting abroad, as in some cases it’s made for the citizens living in another country, or at least there should be an effective guarantee for all the students to be able to come back in their home country without any extra costs.

Sincerely yours,
Karina Ufert, Chairperson of the European Students’ Union


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