European students secure Lang's backing for a role in making policy

November 10, 2000

A demand for a stronger student voice at the higher levels of European higher education decision-making was due to be presented to European Union education ministers in Brussels this week.

Jack Lang, education minister of France, which currently holds the EU presidency, promised to table a manifesto drawn up by 300 student representatives at the first convention of ESIB, the National Unions of Students in Europe.

ESIB, which represents 8 million students in 32 European countries, has the central aim of achieving student participation in forming higher education policy at a European level.

Mr Lang, who attended the conference, will raise the manifesto at the council of EU education ministers in Brussels and at the Nice summit in December. He said ESIB delegations would be included on both occasions. Sweden, which will take over the EU presidency from France, has also promised to continue support for the ESIB.

The manifesto is the outcome of more than two years' work by student organisations, and concerns areas such as mobility, access to higher education, student welfare, recognition of qualifications and quality assurance. It builds on issues covered in the Bologna declaration, adopted by EU education ministers last year.

ESIB director Manja Klemencic described the weekend's events as historic. "We have had a consultative role with the European Commission, but never before any chance to put our demands or opinions to ministers.

"The French presidency gave us the opportunity toI put forward our manifesto directly to the Council of Ministers," she said.

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