European Parliament elections & its importance for the higher education and research policies



okay this is two o'clock I think we can start and show some more people will join us on the way first thank you for joining on Europe's day to discuss the importance of European elections and fire allocation and research I mean obviously for us this is a very important topic we have participants from 51 countries so welcome to another person I am the communications director here at the Open University Association I will be moderating this webinar today and we have a range of speakers topic first a few practical matters this webinar is recorded and will receive the recordings afterwards yet email you can also watch all our webinars on our YouTube channel which is the easy way one so easy to find since we have a lot of participants today we expect a lot of questions please use the chat phone booth you can just write them as we go along and I will pick up as many as we can before completely diving into the topic I would like to explain a couple of things identity on this first slide that you see in front of you the first archetype this time I'm voting is actually the ashtag is a campaign the European Parliament is leading to increase the participation and was elections it's a grassroots campaign and the eponymous Association is one of the 60 associations we are part of that campaign to boost participation so the way now is also quite nice you have more information on our website if you're interested in please yograj tag the EU elections person 19 that as a political hashtag where you will find lot more information about the debates and about the candidates and everything around the election spacing so you know now I think we can jump into the topic itself we access with us Thomas Juergen son likely here and reopen inverse association and he's going to discuss a little bit impact of the of environment on hybrid policy investment relative to universities it will be fooled by caffeine a copper as the vice-president of the European student China on their foot for education campaign and mean promise of the young voters engagements just to have an idea we have 20 million students voting for this election so they are really a big demographic research positions and then we will finish with bacon I absolutely was the director of absolute learning platform and address issues that are broader about education in general and specially in formal and non-formal education and then we will of course follow with as many questions as we can take as I mentioned there yeah so first we will start Alaska to do something if you can feel be servant should appear in front of you just have an idea who you are this will be very practical as for our presenters to understand we're addressing address where okay we see that anywhere out of you working in higher education institution a staff member we have a few students welcome to them and okay okay well I think your questions then we go much further I drew and we leave Tomas to start this presentation thank you very much miss Ted and welcome to all of you I can see that people from the main areas where it's been interesting for higher education so a few words on what kind of institution this is it sounds a little bit negative it approves a lot of very relatively little but it's an important thing to remember that the Parliament approves things that are proposed elsewhere it does not propose new laws in your regulation like that that makes it work a little bit different for many Parliament's then that is when Yerevan and elsewhere in the world the constitutional set up so how it works with other bodies is also slightly different because the European Union is not a federal state so the Parliament has to work with the Commission which is a civil service and and with the Member States that's it in the council and there's this these three bundles that need to have a particular dance together that that is different from many nashville scene's just saying this because often people can assume that the European Parliament works like some national parliaments that they used to and Pacific those of us that come from political systems where the velocity is nothing above and nothing next to the Parliament that is a very but what's that mean concretely we have one very important power of the Parliament is that they have a say on the money a the moment of course we're discussing where the money is going to go for the next seven years in Brussels and the Parliament has traditionally been a big spender more of everything and but they have been particularly a friend of research and higher education we can see that also in the anybody aware this is very they want to use more money there then the Commission and even then the member states which and you can see that so for the next seven years the Parliament has proposed 120 billion for the research programme that is 20 percent more than the Commission has proposed and the overall expectations is that the member states are going to be more careful that statement than definition for Erasmus well-known very popular program with everybody it's trivalent approval budget not repeatable say hey you should have ten times Erasmus but triple it's still and it's still a considerable support and what is important to remember and I'll come back to this when we go that let's say the future composition of the part of it is that the initiatives for research and higher education have huge majorities so you can see here the extraction is from the boat about the Erasmus program and you have five hundred and twenty seven votes for it that is across all parties you go through voting list and you will find communists French polish without nationalists and you'll find not everybody but somebody from all the parties have actually so this is that this is very clear but you look at the research program is similar it's the same picture yeah this very broad left-to-right support for these issues in the time and and that is correspondent with a broad understanding by the parliament that these issues are actually Europe really do difference here when it comes to regulation and this is probably what most of us think about when we think about hahnemann this is well also mean that it proposes now the Parliament as it all kind of both law proposed regulation but there are also other limits to it this of course that limits to what is the European competence and particularly for education and I know that three key men will talk more about the area of Education does because you can do other things that regulation but the Parliament does not have the competence competence of the regulations on education theoretically you could imagine that it would have laws about research but the European Commission that proposes these laws have traditionally it has not been using regulation for mrs. Parsons research policies have largely been driven through my and and there's no reason to speculate whether this will be different in the future but in the past that's been the case so there's been very different regulatory power however the some rules that we care a lot about the rules that decide how the different programs are made those are fooled by Department and Department amend and there's a very serious contribution on the Parliament to those for the present Parliament and follow the rules for the next seven years a what we might see is also that you have power about things that affect universities without being directly research or education related laws and the big colorful badly we had last year was of course about the copyright directive where you and a lot of us in very active in arguing for copyright there are cell fukuoka nexus for instance so then you have something that is great mental universities you might think that with the big role that technology is going to play and is playing in all societies then you might have regulation that touches upon that and then then again touch upon you might also think about things like state aid that connected to the internal market that could touch universities and their since this is a wheel of regulation the parliament would have a say and so those that's the regulation part the let's say last part if that's not going to show there we go is I put here symbolic action and it looks like it doesn't have an effect that it's more the power of parliament to put things on the agenda and that could be through lucien so things that does not have necessary and legal consequence but when we put things say the european union should act in this way we call upon the member states to do this to do that and one very tiny example is from us via a resolution about taking into account academic freedom a foreign policy that was then supported by an event in brussels about academic freedom to get that risk it's a good example of something that parliament can do when they can put topic on the agenda you can do that through public hearings and events as well to invite experts and politicians to put a topic on the agenda could let's say moral pressure on other parts of brussels and you can question the commissioners directly and i just took two questions that are taking from real life so just to show what kind of questions those are so what is done for disadvantaged students and there's an official answer that can be very technical questions what is done to reduce error rates in a rising 2020 that is a real question and let you have the Commission understands and say well we did this and we compact in the system these are the results of it so that's another way to put political pressure on positions outside the parliament the Parliament evaluates the programs it's not an illegal way but they have value how programs working there was obviously both the Erasmus and horizon 2020 and that is of course if the Parliament says this doesn't work at all that's of course it's strong in that something needs to be changed for the next time even though they cannot stop something in the middle of the process and then importantly the Parliament approves the Commission president and the Commission is done that's of course going to be hugely relevant in before to see what's going to be the president of the next commission and we're going to be the commissioners and that is what we all look for and there's a process where the Parliament has to approve the next permission and you can see that I think yeah if we can put the either in the mail or in the chat with into that so the last thing is the crystal ball this is how's it going to go and we realize that this of course of let's say turning over Europe it's a very critical piece and it is and there's no reason not to it because you think it's not that but it's also important to see what is likely to happen and we just look at the projections and I had to sum some fairly standard projections here and we assume that this is with the Brits so it's 751 if 71 was another 51 the chair but the main point is if you see how the button is today on the left you can see possible to see that the light blue and the red have majority together so the Conservatives and the Social Democrats together and I believe they head for the whole history of the and this is likely to change now is this going to be a very dramatic change that it remains to be seen there was at the beginning of the present Parliament there was a very formal grand condition where they would these two cousins would have a close coordination that was canceled the company is about the Social Democrats say we won't do it anymore if he's not formally and so we already have a situation where yes there is two parties can make a big in stable majority but as you've seen also near this line you can have majorities and so so that that's going to be one difference the other difference that about people talk about is that the Euroskeptic wing which is here presented on the extreme right and it's going to be bigger and then most most projections will say it is it is going to be bigger hey that does not mean that anywhere yeah caimito I see the two main part is the Social Democrats and the Conservatives and the Liberals and the Greens that are the main street member and from Europe generally they still have a very comfortable majority but and this has to be to be said well run through a the majorities did these paddles don't work bonus blocks they vote with many individuals and it means that many of the right-wing parties will sometimes also vote and the present Europe will actually also go to things that are European so okay there continue to catch my colleague because I Kathleen Isley for short times I want to make sure that she's able to so that you're ready to go hi happy to be here greetings from Sophia I am indeed with you today for a bit of a shorter time I I am at the European students you did Jenner assembly at the moment and run away from my duties as vice president to be with you here and talk to you a little bit about what we are doing for the European Parliament elections and how we see the connection between European Parliament elections and education in Europe so to get started it's because I don't just assume that everyone knows what s su or European students it is we are the umbrella organization of of said twenty million students that we mentioned in the beginning of this webinar we represent 45 members from 39 countries we have quite the right scope of membership from Portugal to Israel from Cyprus to Iceland and we have been doing this since 1982 so we're a bit over 30 years old so do we do campaigning for European Parliament elections yes of course we do we do political representation as our daily job and therefore the Parliament elections fall squarely within what we do anyway however do we do is a dill we just as it was an umbrella organisation do campaigning for that is geared towards specific members of European Parliament do we do specific campaigning that on a national level no that is things that our members do so for example in Finland and in Ireland we are supporting the campaigns that are being run by our local units and therefore standing for whatever it is they're standing for usually it is quite simply the goal of getting students to co to vote but a very good example here is the Finnish students campaign from this year and and a few years ago which in which they made politicians running for elections promised certain things about the election it's re not the elections education and then following up on those promises especially when those promises were not kept so for example on the EU level that would mean that European Parliament members promised to join the cult committee for example which is the European Parliament committee that makes the most important decisions decisions regarding education including the rasmus regulation and if that broken is the premises then broken the students create quite upset all twenty million of them so we do campaign we have our own campaign that we run on unfortunately a very low budget as we our students do not tend to be the wealthiest part of the society you can find our campaign when you google hashtag votes for education it is essentially one of the first results so what is it that we actually ask for when we campaign in the in the end of the past year we decided and passed a statement that is also visible when you google said hashtag vote for education what we set as our biggest priority is inclusive higher education in Europe now we have quite a bit of sort of I would say disagreement but consultation amongst ourselves on education in European Union is quite a difficult topic it's a national competence there is only so much that European Union can do as was just talked about by the previous presenter meaning we have to tread a very careful line between asking for things in education but also we do not want to have the goal of wanting education to be covered by the European Union because that really scares us about that prospect is that European Union and its views and action on medication often are very focused on employability and we stand the furthest that education is not only for employability of course it's a part of it but training for jobs in incre skills training for employability is only a part of higher education but unfortunately the part that gets focused on the most so when we talk about inclusive higher education for example we talked about about European Parliament funded projects such as Erasmus but not only one of the key things that we asked for is that all projects run by the European Union must be accessible to all with particular focus on students with disabilities who are very under represented in Erasmus according to some of the most recent research represents only 0.17 percent of all students and that is not of course the total people with disabilities in society so while we want the diversity of higher education to reflect the diversity of society we also want the International mobility within our education to represent that diversity and right now students with disabilities and other marginalized groups do not have the same access but we also ask for is that access to education for migrants both off refugee and non refugee backgrounds if you want to know more about this we have a very lovely project where we as the umbrella of student unions gives small grants to local student groups who want to engage with migrants who are who are seeking access to education you can Google together moving forward and find much more about what we do for access to education for refugee and under PG backgrounds of course this topic is very relevant especially in the context of EU as dealing with migration is one of the current topics that has been and will be and is one of the according to polls one of the most precise topics among European citizens excuse me but we're also focused on a lot is academic and press freedom now why we put academic freedom and press freedom together is that these often go together especially in our experience so when we look at cases from the recent past when is it either journalists or journalism students have been murdered for their work where their investigative work this is indirect this goes directly against for what we believe in both academics and students rights to free research I mean I guess asking for academic freedom isn't something that I have to overly explain to you as the attendees of this webinar I'm guessing you know pretty much exactly what I'm talking about we also request high-quality and sustainably funded higher education this is a wider topic of several term sub themes for example we request that European Union does not push for tuition fees which we see as fundamentally unsustainable release or five make higher education I mentioned in the beginning of my slide show here that students are not the richest part of the society therefore X teach students to fund their own way through higher education in both sense of tuition fees and not giving them enough grants to live is this a fundamentally unsustainable way of funding her education because it is low it is it is dependent on the poor people of the society to fund their own way which often is backed by loans which are not very favorable for students we also talked here about quality and quality assurance recently the European Commission released a recommendation on automatic recognition among European universities there is also the question of the European universities I think alliances are called right now not Network anymore which is sort of essentially right now a pilot project but an increasing push towards more transnational universities more transnational raishin between universities what really worries us is that the conditions and the idea is behind them seem to be quite elitist to us meaning that it's the alliances of the best of the best not necessarily in the sense of quality or student accessibility but it's a sense of research which is often very connected to funding state funding this means that we are very concerned that some of the European initiatives might lead to more elitism more privilege gaps within higher education which we are firmly standing against these are briefly the ways that we are working with the European Parliament elections also doing we've had panel discussions in various events trying to engage students try to get students who are not the activists because they're going to vote anyway we're trying to get the students who are the students from the corridor as we call them in Estonian trying to get the students who are doubting whether their voice matters and we're also trying to get the Eagles who are doubting whether their voice matters because students are used are like the Venn diagram of life not all students are young and not you're all young people are students so US European Youth Forum and other various NGOs including a Basu who represents the secondary school students are working to make sure that every one of the young people of students who has the right to vote sees the point of going to vote I've also had the ear to the last slide a little illustration of some of the materials that we've been used for campaigning this is our current elected team of s we're all very happy to work with European elections however some of these people do not actually have the right to vote for example we do have members who are here who are from Belarus and from Armenia but they are all still very motivated to convince the young people of your of the European Union who do have right to vote that they should vote so I'd like to thank you for your attention thank you so important before we let you go is a know busy you are but I mean we know through your can service that that students actually among the most supportive groups in the population to what we you nevertheless they are among the ones who voted sorry in elections do you think to be different this time you will exert that we all the effort that you have put into it will will be bring to fracture or do you feel that ways that it's very difficult to make I mean it's frankly it is quite difficult it's difficult for everyone otherwise we probably would have much higher percentages of people going to vote so that comes back to the care the core issue that I mentioned in the sort of in slides that while you use and students are often very European minded they have grown up with the European Union often they take it for granted which is also an issue but they don't feel like their vote matters because young people are the minority age group who goes to vote young people often are seen as too inexperienced or too but quite simply too young to go to vote even if they are of age and have right to vote in countries for example in Austria as people who are sixteen year olds old I can now also participate in elections and still there is the stigma that young people somehow matter less in elections I think that is a lot of a huge factor that deters people who loading okay now I think we how do you motivate people students from the corridors he called them not we have the current committee my question for all of us are limited concrete's dear person one examples are you made it concrete I mean the best example is explaining to them that do you know what Erasmus is have you been on our nobility do you know how that came to be who votes for that and do you know that there are people who do not see this as a sensible thing for the EU to do you think from the EU side that definitely is a lack of communication towards people to explain what you is I think I mean it's been written in various research papers as well that the communication of the European Union has led to a situation where often the people who are the most European minded also take it the most for granted and I think going down to the little bits of why it is important that you engaged why if you don't engage what can happen I think these are the things that are going to now hello thank you thank you to you as well thank you so much Thank You Christine as well for the opportunity well I have to make you aware of the fact that I'm next to the sea so you will hear the noise it's usually a nice one that people look forward so I hope you don't mind I really thank you for this opportunity and I think maybe I would also do the boring part just for those that maybe don't know who I am and who is the platform I represent so I'm Burkina the director of the lifelong learning platform which is the European civil society for education what does that mean it means that we are an umbrella of umbrellas European network of European networks that rope is some different sectors of Education from early childhood education to adult education and that's very it's a very wide network that promotes in deeds formal non-formal and informal education so one of our main missions I would say is how to break the silos between different sectors of education and how to have a holistic vision of Education so with these one of the main objectives that we have is to promote democratic and include inclusive education systems now I would declare a tone that a little bit more but I want to just comment a bit on what Thomas and Kathleen has said about education not being a European competence this is an excuse of his least true but it's also often an excuse that we abuse off especially European institutions would tend to say that very often and member states as well saying that no but this is not a neo competence so we can do more than that however I think we forget that in the Lisbon Treaty we do have an article that does specify the need for further cooperation between education establishments and institutions it's in the ACE in the article number 165 of the functioning of the European Union and it does safai the need for further cooperation at a level in the education sector now this what does it mean it may be very broad but it does give an input upon a possibility a window for the education sector to work and if entry for Europe to provide some softs recommendations and opinions to the Member State helped them cooperate in the field and I think Erasmus is one of the main mechanisms that the European Union has managed very well help in that regard and intervene in certain under bracket in the education mostly in higher education but it's more and more now in school education and adult education as well there is a lot happening through cooperation through projects of strategic partnerships through different actions of the program and also the European Social Fund has supported the Member States to implement major reforms in their education systems so I would say when the union wants and when the institution's wants they can do something there is always a gatekeeper which is the Member States but also institutions sometimes they can be that can be gatekeepers but I do believe that we can be a little bit more positive about what the Union can do in the fields and I mean we can just focus on what happened that got to Berg summits there was a renewed pressure and renewed energy for education and also renewed goals very very ambitious goals on a European level and how education can actually support the social pillar and the European social pillar and I think that gives us a new window of possibilities to further work of the education at ear level so I think there is a lot of pressure there now we as a as a platform we obviously work in the directions we are not pushing the Union to to intervene but at least to help that cooperation so funding or possibilities that the Union has and they have there are many working groups thematic working groups as you know as well in different sectors of Education where the union is trying to help the Member States together to exchange and learn from each other in order to progress and one of the most relevant for today may be discussion is the one that is followed of the Paris declaration which was the working group focus on citizenship but now is focusing on promoting common values and includes education and in that one there is a lot of work going on on how and what role education plays to promote those values and it's true that there are many steps and there are many have to say hires to overcome for education sector to be able to promote to those common values because first we have to identify those values and we were recently in a peer learning activity in Croatia about this specific topic and one of the major issues that came in and the discussion was that actually we have to in order to promote this these values and in order to promote citizenship and active participation we need to rethink the way we teach history for example European countries have very different sometimes conflicting histories and the way we are teaching them at schools is yet not to the level that allows through tolerance towards each other you can take the Balkans as an example but I'm pretty sure that remaining issues are also in other parts of the Union these to say that there are a lot of steps for us to be able to build democratic education systems and what I wanted to add to that as well is that the role that education plays it's key not because only is the place where we learn those values although we will learn how about life or society but also because shoot and is the place where we practice them only two weeks ago we had a discussion in the parliament when it comes to the technical and professional higher education institutions what role they can play as well in this new elections and in general and it was mentioned during the discussion that I was also student representative and I and I refer to this as well the participations of students in the student elections at the university are very low so the problem already starts from there a lot of students do not know how to vote a lot of students do not vote only 10 percents more or less average votes in the local in the in the University of level elections so it starts there the role that the education has to play it's cancer from the practice where do we practice democracy because if we practices at our local small community or our university our schools we learn how to practice it at new level as well and I think if we don't believe on those at this level it's much more harder to believe on those at the EU level and I do agree with Katrina I'm saying that the Union can do more in promoting the values of the Union and promoting what the union is doing and the great achievement but I think also that there are so many different channels that the Union has made to the disposal of the member states to promote those things but the gatekeepers are often at that level national or probably sometimes at the institutional level as well so I do think that when the Union can do more institutions can also do more and they can do more but also cooperating better or more with different stakeholders so I really believe that this cannot be just done by the European Union it has to be done by the different stakeholders in the education system they have to promote as well those values and they have to allow practice to practice those values they have to inform more to raise awareness about them so I think there is a lot that can be done at the institutional level and education is really at the heart of building the democratic society and the Union cannot neglect the role of Education in that regards with ten times okay I mean the campaign obviously came after the different claims of a few states of same I mean heads of the states the Italian one and also the Yunker a few years ago at the third anniversary did say that we need nine times ambitious program did not say but we took it as ambitious also financing and battalion members it said that well we need to 10 times more money for Erasmus as well so we took on combat and we started our campaign with 10 different arguments and we thought that 10 times bigger the budget we would be able to achieve much higher because at the moment the contribution of the program I mean overall Erasmus just gets I mean if doubling it will get 30 billion that's nothing that's not even 1% of the EU budget if you think about it but the pressure on education is so high that it's that's almost our arguments if everyone is speaking about education or blaming education for all the issues that the Union or our member states have then why don't we have put more money for it at the EU level so with more money we would be able to increase the participation of more people from different areas not only the capital cities we would be able to improve the social dimension the social inclusion today only people that can afford can actually participate or people that have support additional support from the member states can participate like Katrina said people with disabilities have a major barrier to participate so I think this would be the two main things that will improve if they increase the budget but also we can improve and we can increase the peer learning and the cooperation between education institutions which currently is happening but first because the legal framework program is very much the second is that we had fairly recently a very lenient directive on a third country students of beasts are just coming to your with only two exceptions there Martin and the UK so probably soon only the exception of that month and that is that is very that is very good possibilities for researchers to come to to the students as well theoretically be changed if the Commission and the Member States we want to change these things if the Commission I don't think I'm enough of a specialist bility rules for the programs but Petronas is tomorrow no can the Parliament make consistent pressure on Europe for the European funding for Europeans and Europe first approach to the profit yes and that we've seen already in the rise in Europe debate that there were patterns and not from the nationalist groups there that are key for that so you could have a slow pressure to to change the very open nature but it's not something that's going to happen ambarina process I think here there was a question about the equivalence between different our cognition of diplomats can we expect a better harmonization in the future especially in the time that students are pressured to study abroad is it something to working on Makena recognition deep American because it working a lot in validation of formal and informal learning but I don't know if you should yeah well actually I mean I yesterday we were for today's in Berlin to discuss validation of prior learning and we are a member of the European qualifications trademark advisory group as well so we follow all the recognition issues closely as well and usually we believe that's at the heart of the mobility and better mobility in Europe and globally we do expect better recognition member states are reporting on the progress is they are also doing and standardizing and harmonizing to a certain extent or at least following certain guidelines but still trying to keep a customized approach to the needs of their learners or institutions there is progress at least at the reform and policy level that we can see from our level however when we ask a civil society our members so the actual users the perception is much lower on the implementation of those reforms or yeah the the wish is much the expectation such are much higher but the perception of what is doing is done so far are very low so I think there is a lot to be done there validation is one of the the biggest area to work on as well because has been has left has been left a bit behind compared to the recognition issues in the Bologna process which I think has progressed much better and faster now I don't know how concretely I mean what completely the question would like to know is if the Union would like to harmonize I mean I can tell that the intention is there to at least be in accordance Paulo fication framework that would be already a good step if all member states will be truly set with that and that will mean some kind of harmonization but I can't predict the future from hours of course we will for better and more at least transparency that will help a lot I mean with maybe Europe passes well revision would be an additional point yes but it was I think with 550 votes in favor so you have to it was not that it was it was a it was the ho so I think I can't hear do you hear me I don't I'm trying to this new Parliament well it's somewhere between saying everything's probably doing still going to be alright and it does a lot of things it has traditionally been a friend of issues are important universities thank you everyone now we are going to send you a message before me another day regarding the presentations yoga things we said we would so thank you for listening and if you want to to attend our next webinar it would be just before the elections but it would be about refugee students in our institutions so different topic but also it is for me interesting ones so we hope to see you there as well thank you everyone and I'm going to close now

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