Beyond knowledge and skills, universities play an important role in society through civic engagement. As places for open and critical debate, universities bring together people from various backgrounds and with different views, providing them with a safe space for exchange.

The next European elections will take place on 23-26 May 2019, giving all voters from the EU member states the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament. Among them, about 20 million students are enrolled in higher education institutions across the EU, many of whom will vote for the first time. As part of their civic role, many universities across Europe will actively engage in information campaigns about the European elections or host debates with local MEPs.

EUA is supporting universities and national university associations, providing them with information and representing them as an official partner in the European Parliament’s campaign “This time I'm voting”. This grassroots initiative aims to raise participation across Europe in the elections.

Why vote?

Despite the increasingly important role of the European Parliament, many Europeans choose not to vote. Participation has been decreasing with with as little as 13% voter turnout in some areas in 2014. This is problematic when considering the powers wielded by the European Parliament: It is the co-legislator, together with the Council of the EU, that represents member state governments at the EU level. Together these two institutions decide, most often upon proposals from the European Commission, on important things such as the future EU funding programmes and budget, copyright rules and the relationship with third countries (such as the United Kingdom after Brexit). The European Parliament also elects the future President of the European Commission (proposed by the EU member states), who has a central function in driving the institution internally, as well as in relations with the other EU institutions. Thus, participating in the European elections, gives voters the possibility to influence the future direction of EU policies.

Showcase how your university is spreading the word

To encourage as many activities as possible among its members, EUA is showcasing any event or initiative linked to the European Parliament elections. The Association sees this as part of its role in providing a European perspective to those members who are engaged at the local or national level.

Contact us and let us know what your university is organising.

EUA also encourages all members to register to the #ThisTimeImvoting campaign to receive additional information and materials in their preferred language.

EUA sends open letter to European Parliament group chairs

Ahead of the European elections in May, EUA is engaging in a discussion with groups in the European parliament with a view to prepare the ground for future collaboration. In an open letter to the group chairs , EUA President Rolf Tarrach invites them to join forces with the university sector in addressing common European challenges and share with their views on a number of key questions for European higher education and research. In addition, several national university associations are starting similar exchanges with candidates in their countries and individual universities are invited to engage at the local level as well.

The 2019 European elections are important for universities and the millions of students enrolled in higher education across the continent. The new European Parliament and the next Commission will have a major responsibility for shaping the Union in these challenging times. They will also decide on future policies and programmes impacting universities and therefore it is important to start forging relations at an early stage.


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