Bringing the Student Voice to EU Policy:  Representing Una Europa and the University of Helsinki at the annual European Student Assembly in Strasbourg

This blog post is written by a member of the Local Task Force Logan Sunnarborg.

Three days, 251 students, 59 nationalities, and 79 proposals adopted by the collective – this was the European Student Assembly (ESA) 2024.

Gathering at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, myself and two other students from the University of Helsinki had the opportunity to attend the annual ESA, hosted by the European Universities Communities (EUC), which gathered students from across Europe to empower and provide us a platform to have a say in the future of Europe.

Photo: (L to R) Venla Ailasmäki, Logan Sunnarborg, and Garima Singh. Venla participated as a panel coordinator on “Addressing Euroscepticism”, and Garima was a participant in the panel “A Place for All” on making higher education more inclusive.

 Over a three-month period, we worked in different panels to develop policy proposals we would like to see the European Union (EU) act upon. My panel, the EU in the World, addressed the question, “How can the EU be a more responsible actor in globalisation through its leadership”.

During the three months, we heard from a range of experts on the topic, including academics, EU Commission officials, and members of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Together, my panel proposed eight different policies promoting EU involvement in global affairs, in alignment with the values found in the Treaties, to address the nexus of economic growth & sustainability, human rights commitments within external partnership, and encourage the EU to foster global peace & stability.

All eight of our proposals passed by majority vote in the final day of the Assembly, including two that I drafted. The first encourages further technological cooperation and skill development under the already established EU satellite data-sharing agreements within the Copernicus framework, and the second promotes international (extra-EU) tourism in order to deepen cultural ties, particularly with nations that have shared histories with present day EU-member states. This is accomplished through the development of a Tourism Dashboard, the creation of an annual “Destination: International” moniker, and meetings with Tourism Ministers from extra-EU nations with the Council of the EU.

Bringing students together from across Europe made for fruitful and robust discussions, especially considering the ongoing global crises that can only be addressed meaningfully via international cooperation. With the EU Parliament Elections taking place 6-9 June this year, it was also important to make the voice and priorities of students known. Be sure to vote! The work of our assembly is not done, however. Now we will continue to disseminate our policy proposals to European stakeholders, hoping that all our work can lead to change.

Next year, you can also be involved in this amazing experience. Applications usually open in the fall, and close early November. The selections are made known in January and then the work begins! The University of Helsinki, which is a member of the Una Europa alliance, supports students who want to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and hopefully will continue to help students get involved for many years to come! Next year you could represent the University of Helsinki and Una Europa!

Read more about the European Universities Communities (EUC) and the European Student Assembly (ESA) here:


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