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Polish EU Presidency looking to expand Erasmus to non-EU students

LAZY – The future outlook of the European Students’ Union (ESU) is the main topic of discussion for 120 students’ representatives from all over Europe who meet in Lazy, Poland, for the 22nd European Students’ Convention from 30 August till 3 September. The plan from the current Polish EU Presidency to open up the Erasmus scheme to non-EU countries is also high on the agenda.

ESU is the umbrella organisation of 45 national unions of students from 38 European countries and represents around 11 million students at the European level. Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson, said: “Access to higher education within Europe is increasingly under threat. We are standing at an important crossroad. How we choose to react at this very moment, will lay the foundation of the future of higher education and the students’ movement in Europe.

Expanding the Erasmus scheme to non-EU countries is another hot topic for the students and the Polish EU Presidency is pushing for this. The Polish Minister for Higher Education, Barbara Kudrycka, who was speaking at the event on 30 August, said: “We would very much like to see a widening of the Erasmus-scheme to non-EU countries, not only our Eastern neighbors but also for example the ones in the southern neighborhood. According to me, the best diplomats for countries are students and scientists.”

Many internal and external changes have taken place in the last decades for ESU. ESU started off in 1982 as an information exchange office between 7 Western-European national unions. The last 30 years ESU has become a professional lobby organisation with 45 member unions from 38 European countries. The fall of the Berlin Wall but also for instance the Bologna Process have led to an accelerated cooperation between European countries on higher education. The ESU unions will ask themselves how they can be more relevant for students in Europe and will ponder how they can improve their internal communication structures.
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Published: 30 August 2011

For more information, please contact:

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32/479.591.499 or or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or


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