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In a newly published education manifesto – Quality, Equity and Access for All: European Higher Education to 2014 – the European Students’ Union (ESU) urges the soon to be elected members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to go further in exercising their legislative and non-legislative powers with regard to higher education. This would be, in the eyes of the signatory organisation, the only way to put the realisation of a quality European Higher Education Area (EHEA) fully on track.
The declaration acknowledges the higher education-related achievements of the current MEPs, i.e. the increases in grants for Erasmus (2005), continued support for lifelong learning and commitment to the Bologna Process, and outlines a set of five principles to be followed throughout the next parliamentary term. In line with these principles, five key actions are further elaborated upon, namely:
• budgetary increases for mobility and the Lifelong Learning Programme;
• creation of incentives that will enable Europe to deliver a balanced 20% incoming and outgoing mobility for students across the EHEA by 2020, in partnership with the Commission;
• support for schemes that deliver real equity in terms of a higher education system for all, not the few;
• support for a Students’ Rights Charter; and
• increasing the student voice within the European Parliament.
It remains to be seen if the five themes will reach the hearts and minds of the coming MEPs, and gain the status of priority areas in HE for the European institution.