The European Students’ Union (ESU) has launched a statement to unify the students of Europe and clearly state the European learners’ priorities for both the upcoming elections, as well as the future work of the European Parliament. The European Student Union emphasises the importance of inclusive higher education, the great value of academic and press freedom as well as the need for high quality and sustainably funded higher education in Europe.


1. Access to EP funded projects for marginalised groups

According to the article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU has committed to specific goals in the fields of education, highlighting the need for encouraging the mobility of students as one of its aims of particular relevance. The EU must ensure the accessibility of all its programmes and projects, such as Erasmus and Horizon. This access must also extend to students who are not from EU countries.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should take a leading role in ensuring the true accessibility of EU programmes and the sustainability of the budgets for the respective programmes it votes on. As the legislative body of EU, the Parliament holds responsibilities to learners in Europe and should live up to these responsibilities.

2. Access to education for migrants of both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds

Europe is facing a massive backlash as evidenced by the uprising of right-wing extremist and populist parties in EU member states. In times like these, higher education is a line of defence and a precious tool to fight disintegration, social decline and exclusion. To unfold its emancipatory potential, higher education needs to be inclusive and accessible for everyone, regardless of gender, residential status, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or any other factors based on which students and potential students suffer from discrimination. Migrants of both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds need to be given the chance to live up to their human potential through granting them access to higher education as well as giving them the support they need to successfully obtain their goals in education.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should take a leading role in assuring free access to higher education and implementing support systems for people with migrant and refugee backgrounds. ESU furthermore stresses the importance of abandoning financial burdens, like tuition fees, as well as the need to offer free language courses in each country.

3. Academic and press freedom

Sensationalism and lack of substantive news coverage by mainstream media institutions have led to a general lack of trust toward traditional information providers. Ultra-nationalist, racist and populist political forces are making use of this, pandering false information and viewpoints designed to sow hate and discontent amongst the public.ESU believes that access to information is a key component in combating these trends and that both high-quality journalism and high-quality education are crucial to ensuring an informed public. Governing bodies, including the European Parliament, have a direct role in tackling this issue.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should take a leading role in guaranteeing the safeguarding and advancement of these principles. Member states should be pressured to cease any attacks on the free press and to ensure the safety of every journalist, to prevent cases such as the killing of blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and the rape and murder of the reporter Victoria Marinova in Bulgaria.

ESU statement on the European Parliament Elections 2019

Political Parties On Issues

  • European People's Party
  • Socialists and Democrats
  • ALDE
  • European Greens
  • European Free Alliance
  • ECR Group
  • European Left



The On Our Watch project brings together Civil Society Organisations working on all kind of topics. As representatives of and in direct contact with citizens, organisations have a strong role to play in holding the European Parliament accountable to the public. By joining forces in the context of the #EUelections2019 (23-26 May), On Our Watch offers a comprehensive overview of the key issues that European citizens care about.

Want to join? Get in touch! Contact: christian.skriverik[@]europeanmovemnt.eu  | Address: Place du Luxembourg 2, B-1050, Brussels | Phone: +32 2 508 30 83