In an open letter addressed to the executive board of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) puts forth a well-founded case to be included in the conferences’ plenary.
The Conference on the Future of Europe aims to be the biggest participatory exercise ever carried out by the European Union, allowing European citizens from all walks of life and corners of the Union express issues that or of concern to them – which will hopefully widen the scope of participation and create a more in-touch policy agenda.
As the Conference moves forward and the Citizens’ panels are about to start, it is important to highlight the fact that millions of “Europeans from all walks of life and corners of the Union” have already found the best possible channel to participate in shaping the future of Europe in the Erasmus programme. This is the central message expressed by ESN in their eloquent open letter.
If we want to foster inclusive pan-European dialogues, as the Conference aims to do, the success of the Erasmus programme should be a source of inspiration. There is perhaps no better example of European added value than what this programme gives to Europe in terms of bringing citizens together and creating a common European identity.
Indeed, research on the impact of the Erasmus Student Network shows how local communities across our Union benefit directly from having hundreds of Erasmus students in a number of ways. In fact, these students bring families and friends to less known cities and towns, volunteer to address local societal challenges, and foster multilingualism and intercultural dialogue while sharing their accommodation and living experiences with local friends.
We should build upon these successes to improve people-to-people dialogues across the European Union and enrich the participatory process of the Conference.
To read the full letter see here