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Statement for Europe: A European Students’ Vision for Real European Citizenship

Introduction

Europe needs to make a decisive step forward in order to face the challenges of the next millenium.
Nation states and the European institutions in their present shape are not sufficient to secure peace and
stability in Europe, to solve environmental problems and to balance between the forces of the market
and the social needs of the citizens of Europe.

The decision-makers of tomorrow are among the students of today. We, the European students of
AEGEE, wish to express our vision of the future. We share a European spirit and believe in a Europe
without borders. Our European experience of living and working abroad in multicultural teams is
constantly reminding us of the need for a real European citizenship. During the conference “Visions of
Europe” in Barcelona, 28 and 29 April 1999, we prepared this declaration on European citizenship. It
was adopted by the general assembly (Agora) of AEGEE in Barcelona, 30 April to 2 May.

In order to achieve a real European citizenship, it is necessary to improve the European democratic
process, increase intercultural education and establish European media. We, members of AEGEE,
therefore invite the European politicians and decision-makers to take the necessary steps needed to
implement a true European citizenship.

I. Improving the European democratic process

European citizenship shall enable citizens to exercise their full rights in the country they choose to live
and work in. They shall vote and be able to stand for elections on local, regional, national and
European level in the country where they pay taxes and raise their children. Administrative obstacles to
full mobility within an enlarged European Union shall be completely abolished: moving to, working,
studying and living in another European country should be as simple as moving inside your home
town. Legal immigrants shall have the same rights and obligations as European citizens. NGOs and
citizens’ active participation are key components of social and political life: clear mechanisms shall be
implemented for the consultation of NGOs in European decision-making processes. The influence of
the European Parliament shall be improved in order to obtain fully democratic control of the European
institutions. The Members of the European Parliament shall no longer be chosen by national
electorates. Instead, all citizens shall have the choice between European lists of candidates.

II. Intercultural Education for European Citizenship

A European dimension shall be integrated into education and training of every young person inside and
outside educational institutions in order to achieve a real European citizenship. Cultural diversity will
be preserved in a united Europe. Intercultural education, courses on language and culture will enable
the next generation of European citizens to understand and appreciate different points of view and
cultural backgrounds. Legal immigrants shall be enabled to integrate into and fully participate in the
European society. In the framework of these ambitious objectives citizens will be enabled to
communicate in at least three European languages.

Young people’s access to programmes on regional, national and European level for intellectual
and physical mobility shall be a fundamental right. Having finally realised the importance of education
and training of young people in formal and non-formal contexts, the European governments shall allocate
appropriate resources to education, training and youth programmes on the European level.

The transfer of university credits and the recognition of university diplomas shall be implemented removing
all barriers between different education systems in Europe. A students status shall be defined granting
students specific rights and obligations in the education system.

III. The role of European media

Today, media focus on the national level. Filtered by each country’s media and politicians the process
of forming opinions is limited within national borders. These limitations have to be overcome in order
to provide citizens with platforms of exchange and understanding where topics of common interest are
discussed on a European level.

This declaration is distributed to politicians and decision-makers at national and European level as
well as to the media.