Europe's students are playing a key role at the highest level in drawing up plans to aid the growth of higher education in Kosovo and other parts of southeastern Europe.
Proposals from the Education Task Force for 2000 are to be set before the European Union's Stability Pact for reconstruction in Central and Eastern Europe during discussions in Brussels next week.
Stability pact partners include EU governments, the European Commission, the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, World Bank, Soros Foundation and other agencies.
The National Student Unions of Europe (ESIB), the Vienna-based student umbrella organisation, has been added to the task force.
Manja Klememcic, ESIB's director, said: "This will allow students (in the region) to apply for funds to carry out activities and organise themselves." ESIB is determined to include a formal recognition of young people in the definition of policy areas targeted by the stability pact.
"Young people, and students in particular, are the key to successfully carrying forward the transition process into democracy in Eastern Europe. They must be made a priority," Ms Klememcic said.
Next week ESIB will be involved in talks about a Council of Europe project to examine the civic role of universities, particularly in societies in conflict.
The council has provided E457,000 (Pounds 6,000) to fund student projects, including student activities in Kosovo.