Mayâ€™12 / 51st year / No. 48 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Knowledge is power p.18
Russian presidential election Moscow does not believe in tears p.14
Economy and creativity - how does it go together? p.10
Sandra Falkowska, Editor-in-chief
Andraž Kastelic, EDS Vice Chairman
Time flies. In spring that impression is stronger than any other time. Just eye flash and again it is May. For students that is hard period of exams, for EDS intensive preparations time to finalise Knowledgle is Power campaign. BE team also is happy to contribute with couple of articles about education policy and its releted problems. That’s important topic for all of us. For Europe hot topic is presidential race in France. Many candidates, only one will be winner. Which direction République will follow? On the other hand pretty clear is direction of Russia with new-old president Putin. Less democracy and worse Europe-Russia relation. Not very optimistic. Those and other interesting articles you can find in this issue of BullsEye. And here I would like to say thank you to Editorial team, which work all year to make BE better and more entertaining. Also our British colleagues made really much helping us always with proofreading – thank you guys. Special thanks go to Andraz, who was showing much support as Vice-Chairman in charge of publications. It was really good to work with you. In the end I would like to say thank you to all our readers. Thank you for all good words which gave us motivation in hard moments to make it better. So enjoy reading!
“Higher education budgets must not be cut as economies contract” is the core plea of EDS’ Knowledge is Power campaign. This, in theory, should rocket our higher education institutions to the top of the world higher education institutions ranking charts. But what executive politicians tend to forget is that rather than quantity, quality will be the key element of the European higher education system’s triumph. Europe should address the issue of quality together with the, apparently, widespread plagiarism. Examples can be found at the top of the food chain. Hungarian president Pal Schmitt resigned after being accused of copying parts of his doctoral thesis from two other authors, ALDE MEPs Silvana Koch-Mehrin and Jorgo Chatzimarkakis were stripped of a doctorate degree for plagiarism, German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down after admitting copying parts of his doctoral thesis. Last but not least of the examples from off the top of my head is Milan Cvikl, member of the European Court of Auditors who translated some of the articles right off Wikipedia and published them as a part of his book. Would European policy makers care to share the reason for the protectorate of people that, rather obviously, took shortcuts in their academic life? The abovementioned MEPs still sit in the European Parliament, Cvikl is still walking the halls of the European Court of Auditors. Popular (self)explanation is that they need to obey the voters will and finish the mandate that was given to them. Nonsense! Plagiarism should be punished, not only by taking away the title from the copy/paste enthusiasts but also by removing them from the leading positions in European politics and bureaucracy. Only with strict implementation of policies seriously addressing issue of plagiarism, European higher education system can strive towards the top of the charts quality and long-term prosperity.
Dear readers and supporters of EDS!
04 Students on the right way
The last issue of this bureau’s BullsEye brings excitement, which we are publishing during a very special moment in the life of EDS, during the Seminar and Council meeting in Antwerp/Brussels,. A peer of mine once told me that it did not matter whether he goes to study at university, because if he ends up in the unemployment office now, or five years later, made no difference. The only difference is that he would have a university diploma. He would be offered job whether he had a middle school education, a vocational training or degree. So why should he bother studying? Many young French people think this way. Other, more mature and experienced people realise that it is a reflection of the state of our society, where people live comfortable lives. Students want to go through university studies comfortably, proceed to a comfortable job which then pays them enough money to allow them to live a comfortable life. This is not what we believe! We believe in the strength of an individual to bring about change – reform, not revolution. Through relentless reforming pressure, we believe that the greatest obstacles for changing the society which need to be overcome are the universities of Europe. On 17 March EDS launched its first ever online campaign called “Knowledge is Power”. We aim to build awareness in our members and the wider community. The goals of the campaign are to persuade member states not to cut spending on higher education, research and development. The contribution of the private sector is essential; however, the main focus is the states that spends tremendous amounts on education and deliver results described by a peer of mine above. As tax payers, we should not only care that public money continue to be spent on research and development at universities, but also that the university system itself be adapted. The Bologna process was one step in that direction. Then creative economy (industries) came along and Brussels had another buzz word. We believe that the only way forward for Europe, out of economic crisis, educational stagnation and lack of inventiveness in the young , is through the creative economy. Creative economy cuts across many fields of life and touches many departments; however, it originates from our universities. This should be the place linking all the talent, free minds unburdened by the requirements of national curricula (which are often obsolete). The creative economy is the future of Europe since thinking ex nihilo is the art of people who think freely. They are unhindered by linear thinking and knowledge memorised in universities. Historically, universities responded to the demands of industry to create a skilled workforce for the industries across Europe. Today, it is ideas that sell, the feeling of identification with something, not the good itself. This is why I am very pleased to bring you this issue of BullsEye. The main topic is devoted to Knowledge is Power and how it can be understood in the context of the creative economy. I am also happy to announce the previously mentioned landmark in the life of EDS. On 9 May, EDS will be introducing its 2nd edition of the “Students on the Right Way” a history book of EDS written by Holger Thuss and this year’s Honorary Chairman, Bence Bauer. It is not every day that an organisation is able to publish a history book about itself, particularly when 50 years of our common past so well researched and drafted by our two authors. Another extraordinary event coming up before the summer is the Policy Days in Georgia. United Young National Movement and YSO Graali will be hosting us in this European country in the Caucasus. Lastly, I hope sincerely that ideas such as those of my peer will be eradicated from society once and for all. I wish that what we study, how we study it and the knowledge we gain from it will be transform into creative solutions for the future. I am excited about the creative economy’s impact in Europe in the long run. Are you?
05 Ronald Reagan – Cowboy against Evil Empire
06 Story of a burned down castle
07 The DAP-NDFK’s view of volunteering 08 The French presidential election 09 European debates - the future
of European politics
10 Economy and creativity – how does
it go together?
13 A few words on humanitarianism in Syria 14 Presidential election in Russia – Moscow
does not believe in tears
16 Bosnian nation to be born
18 What’s economy without knowledge? 20 Talent and individual creativity
for 21st century
21 Higher Education VS Unemployment
22 Youth Policy trends in South Caucasus
23 The UK provides master class how to not
reform higher education
24 Aalto University
26 Council of Europe – education policy
Bullseye The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809, Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-chief: Sandra Falkowska, Editorial team: Tamar Baghishvili, Jakov Devcic, Henry Hill, Andraz Kastelic, Matija Magerl, Vladimir Maryska, Ann-Sofie Pauwelyn, Amelie Pommier, Natalia Rencic, Anika Sonnenberg, Matej Travnicek, Contributions from: Juraj Antal, Bence Bauer, Mariam Chakhvadze, Andrzej Dąbrowski,Athanasios Karagiannis, Maria Samioto, Elena Stamati, Vladimir Sucha, Goran Trkulja, Sofi Weckman, Kalin Zahariev, Photos: Balázs Szecsődi, European Commission archives, KAS archives, private archives, Publisher: European Democrat Students, B-1000 Brussels, Rue du Commerce 10, Tel: +32 2 2854-150, Fax: +32 2 2854-141, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: edsnet.eu
Juraj Antal, Chairman
Articles and opinions published in this magazine are not nessessarily reflecting the position of EDS, EDS Bureau or the Editorial team.
“Students on the right way. European Democrat Students 1961-2011” Bence Bauer, EDS
The history book of EDS will be launched on Europe Day 2012 in Brussels
In 1961, a group of five students founded “The International Christian-Democratic and Conservative Student Union”. In 2011, this organisation celebrated its 50th anniversary as “European Democrat Students” (EDS). For decades, EDS, the largest political student organisation, was starting point of many political careers and could be proud to be the oldest pan-European organisation of the centre-right. By 2011, it became the biggest organisation of youngsters in Europe, representing 1.600.000 students and young people. The authors iterate not only the complete history of EDS since its foundation, but also describe the various reasons for its existence. By reading this book, the
deeper roots of European Integration become visible and perceivable, outshining daily European business and creating a European Identity EDS contributed so much to. What reads as a short introduction about European Democrat Students is simultaneously a short summary, a short rational, about what EDS is about and what the history book of EDS is about. As such, we can find these sentences on the back cover of the newly published history book of EDS “Students on the right way. European Democrat Students 1961-2011”, authored by Holger Thuss and Bence Bauer (ISBN 9 789090 266671). They give us guidance and orientation about an impressive study that is
about to be released on 9th May 2012, Europe Day, in the European Parliament in Brussels with the publishers Centre for European Studies and European Democrat Students. The intention of the authors was not to create “oral history”, but to display the most important occurrences in the life of EDS and to assemble factual knowledge about the various fields of activities EDS was involved in. They kept an accurate and meticulous working pattern which is based primarily on archive works. In this respect, the volume should be understood as an encyclopaedia that gathers facts and pertinent pieces of information related to EDS. According to the preface the authors have jointly drafted, the book stays as objective as possible, to a much higher degree than usual salutation on occasion of the jubilee. However, the study does not only line up the happenings and developments in monotone way, but attempts to analyse and interpret the decisions, developments and actions of past EDS generations. Therefore, this work can be considered a full and complete overview about all what EDS did in the last 50 years. Composed in six chapters, “Students on the right way” presents in each chapter a decade of history. The first chapter embraces centreright student cooperation prior to 1961, the founding year of the ICCS, followed by more and more extensive and accurate parts treating the sixties, the seventies, the eighties, the nineties and finally the Millennium Years. Naturally, where primary and secondary sources in the beginning have been almost impossible to detect, in the course of the Millennium Years and the information boom EDS archives disposed over too many pieces of information and a huge set of photographs and illustrations. This also meant very different working methods: Whereas the first 40 years cover approximately 2/3 of the overall scope and are often relying of secondary sources, taking use of every single information that could be found, the Millennium Years, reaching up to 1/3 can retrieve basically all primary sources, something like 180 of them. Therefore the role of each author was fundamentally different. Additional credit is given to this endeavour by truly inspiring forewords of the President of the European People’s Party and President of the Centre for European Studies, Wilfried Martens and of the President of the European Parliament ret. and Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Hans-Gert Pöttering, both long-time supporters of EDS and the European Idea. The official book launch will be held on 9th May 2012 (Europe Day) at 17.00 CET in the European Parliament, Salon des Membres.
Ronald Reagan Tamar Baghishvili, EDS
Cowboy contra Evil Empire Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. . . . Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar. . . . As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. . . . General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, comes here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! These words were uttered by Ronald Reagan in June, 1987 at the celebration for the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin. His words challenged Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. Soon, in autumn 1989, the unbelievable happened. The 20th century announced one of the biggest calls forth for freedom throughout the history of mankind. After World War II, two main forces opposed each other. The Cold War represented a state of political and military tension between the US-led powers of the Western world, and the Soviet Communist world. The Berlin wall stood as a stark symbol of Cold War between the United States and Soviet Russia in which the two politically opposed superpowers continually fought for dominance. People were suffering under severe restrictions and fighting for their freedom. Mikhail Gorbachev became Secretary General in 1985. The condition of the Soviet economy left much to desire, and was lacklustre. Ineffective attempts at reform led to the conclusion that deeper structural changes were necessary and in June, 1987 Gorbachev announced a program for economic reform called “perestroika”. Perestroika relaxed the production quota system, allowed private ownership of businesses and paved the way for foreign investment. At first, Western countries were sceptical
about the reforms, but the new Soviet leader appeared and later proved to be fully committed to changing the state of economy rather than fighting against the West. Partly as a way to get rid of the internal opposition to his reforms from party cliques, at the same time Gorbachev introduced “glasnost”, or openness, which encouraged freedom of media and the transparency of state institutions. Glasnost was intended to reduce corruption at the top of the Communist Party and decrease abuses of power within the Central Committee. Glasnost also helped to enhance contact between Soviet citizens and the Western world, especially with the United States, and contributed to the accelerating détente between the two nations. When Reagan came out as a president of USA on January 20, 1981 he was more flexible, politically experienced and open to compromise than either his champions or his critics wished to see. He may have called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” but he still could negotiate with it. While others saw the coldness between the superpowers as unchangeable, he insisted that some reform must have been possible. And though today he is honored by supporters of militant foreign policy, Reagan’s greatest successes were achieved not through the use of force but by diplomacy, persuasion and dialogue. Even with his hatred for the Wall and the totalitarian system it symbolized, Reagan fully understood the consequences of possible military confrontation with the Soviets. During the early years of his presidency, Reagan privately tried to open dialogue with the Soviet leaders, but without success. As Gorbachev arrived in 1985, Reagan saw him as a partner who could help in his wish to end the arms race -and ultimately to abolish nuclear weapons. Reagan’s speech cleverly set Berlin as the place for Gorbachev to prove his intentions to open up the communist blockade. If Gorbachev truly wanted to reach peace and liberalization, Reagan said in Berlin, - then he should let the Wall be destroyed. His role in achieving the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful end of the Cold War is truly immense.
A Story of a Burned Down Castle,
Juraj Antal, EDS
or how Robert Fico Crushed the Slovak Center-right. On the day of the early parliamentary elections in Slovakia, Saturday, 10 March, 2012 the stunning medieval castle of Krásna Hôrka burned almost to ashes. It is a symbolic reminder that two children playing with matches can do so much damage to one of the most beautiful and best preserved historical landmarks of Slovakia. Another grown up child played with different matches- of a more combustible kind. He promised people that if they take away from the richer and give it to the state all will be better. What he failed to tell them (unsurprisingly) is that the money will only be used for evening out the state debts and not their private ones. Robert Fico’s left wing SMER-SD gained 44.41% of votes, the best result of any party since independence in 1992. This result was by four to five percentage points better than the last polls had predicted. Fico’s higher-thanexpected share has been ascribed to campaigning, which resulted in increased voter turnout that helped SMER-SD. Furthermore, smaller parties, which occasionally tipped over 5% threshold in pre-election polls, in the end stayed outside the doors of the parliament. On the other hand, Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH), previously tipped to be a junior coalition partner in Fico’s new government, had disappointing results. General expectations were that the party would achieve a double digit result; however, it only secured 8.82% of the vote. A new party—Common People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) performed as per pre-election estimates and achieved 8.55% of the vote. Lower down the electoral results list, the party representing an alternative to the coexistence of the ethnic Hungarian minority with the rest of the population, The Bridge (Most-Híd), whose candidates list featured a number of Slovak conservatives, achieved 6.8% of the vote. Its rival, the single-ethnic focused Hungarian Coalition party (SMK) secured only 4.28% of the vote and did not meet the 5% threshold needed to win seats in the legislature. The Slo-
vak National Party (SNS) will also stay out of parliament, winning only 4.55% of vote. The biggest losers were the two center right parties: the Slovak Christian and Democratic Union-Democratic Party (SKDU-DS) and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS). SKDU-DS and SaS support between the 2010 and 2012 elections dropped from 15.4% to 6.09% and 12.5% to 5.88% respectively. Overall, SMER-SD gained 83 seats in the 150 seat parliament. The party now a comfortable lead and this is the first time ever that a single party commands a majority in Slovakia. KDH and OLNO both gained 16 seats. Most-Hid will be represented by 13 members of parliament, and SDKU-DS and SaS by 11 each. What all Burned Down? Apart from several roofs of the medieval castle it is interesting to focus on the content of what was burned - the collections and historical artifacts. What was the content that the so called “social democrats” of Slovakia offered to the electorate? Not much; they essentially won the elections due to two factors. The first was that they promised that the rich would be taxed more so that the rest would be better off. Few voters actually did the math and counted that 19% of 300 Euros is less that 19% of 3000. The fundamental misunderstanding of the Slovak left on how things work is either deliberate or smartly marketed, or I leave it to the reader’s imagination what else it is. I think, however, that it is the first option. SMER-SD are no social democrats in a real sense: they wear wrist watches worth hundreds of thousands of Euros (former and future Prime Minister), go to financial sharks’ yachts in Monaco (former Minister of Finance) and talk about “you know how it works in the weapons industry” (former Minister of Economy). The second reason for the landslide victory of SMER-SD is the series of fatal political mistakes of the Slovak center-right. After a surprising victory in June 2010, a coalition of four parties took power. It was a fragile com-
bination with the Liberal SaS and Christiandemocrat KDH coming from the opposite side of this spectrum, however, it was not them who clashed and broke up the government. Another serious mistake was that when the “Eurowall”, as we call it in Slovakia, was agreed in the summer, instead of starting to exert pressure on Fico’s SMER-SD, the coalition parties started fighting between each other, accusing each other of treason of the nation or technocrats with no political overview. SMER-SD was on the other hand pushed into the Eurowall by the European Socialists, so they never could afford to say no. This damaged prime minister Radičová and the future prime minister Fico, simply had to wait until Radičová’s head was served to him on a silver platter. This duly happened in October, when Radičová turned the vote on the Eurowall into a vote of confidence in the government. The political greenhorns, also known as the liberals from SaS, did not vote and the government fell. Damage Report Looking at the result of the elections from Saturday, 10 March 2012, it is obvious that the Slovak voters have given a bad grade to the center-right after their 1.5 years of school term… SDKU-DS was battered by the Gorilla scandal of corruption from the second Dzurinda government which was conveniently pulled out before the elections, as well as the inability of the party to react promptly and properly cost them many votes. A center-right voter is more critical
to its political party, he/she assesses the situation and questions the decisions and practices, whereas a typical SMER-SD voter goes with the flow and believes what Robert Fico tells them. Results of around 6% for SDKU-DS requires change in the party leadership and leadership style. The Christian democrats, (KDH) were named as leaders of the center-right, a label partially undeserved. You do not become leader of the block only by keeping your own electorate while others are losing their support. The Chairman of KDH, Ján Figeľ, has admitted that he does not feel that he is the leader of the centerright. And what of our technocrat, self-made businessmen party, the liberal SaS? The number of voters significantly dropped. They say it is because as newcomers they immediately went into government and then had to be responsible for resorts. The author feels this is a nice way to cover up the truth. It attempts to hide the fact that many people became disillusioned with SaS because they allowed the government to fall by adopting a moralistic, stance on the Eurowall vote, which proved futile since the Eurowall vote passed two days later with the support of SMER-SD. So a question arises: Why did those children have to play with matches, so the castle burned down? Why did SaS have to stand by their principles and achieve nothing? All that was achieved by their naivety was a prime minister who has lost confidence in them, and, importantly, the anger of many voters. Finally, the disillusion of centre-right voters,
which encouraged many not to vote, was increased by the vagueness of the Christian Democrats (KDH) and Bridge party’s statements on cooperation with the Socialists. Talks of KDH or even Bridge (Most-Híd) going into coalition and their firm denouncement of these rumors resulted in many voters of the center right staying home, because in the end, it “would not make a difference for them“. They would either enter into government with SMER-SD, e creating enough frustration and dissatisfaction not to vote for them. What is Left? We always have to be optimists, even in times of crisis. One could consider that the worst case scenario came true for the Slovak center-right. However, this is too narrow a view. Instead, we should realise that this defeat also presents a chance for the center-right to renew its leadership after 20 yeras. It is also a chance for a new generation of politicians to step up and start taking responsibility for decisions. Finally it is a chance for a regrouping of parties, rethinking of strategies and policies before gathering for a renewed assault against the walls of SMER-SD with all the force we can muster. To take the castle will be an uphill battle, since self-criticism is always a difficult exercise. Seen in a positive light, the fire of this castle was damaging: it burned down the old beams and roofs. However, the walls stayed and with the help of volunteers it will be recunstructed. We can only hope and wish that the Slovak center-right will rise from its ashes as the mythical sacred firebird – the phoenix.
The DAP – NDFK’s view on volunteering
Volunteering for us is an activity of high importance. We perceive it as the conscious expression of offering for the benefit of society, our fellow citizens and, finally, in favour of the volunteers themselves. It is a selfless giving of personal free time, knowledge and skills, and the willingness to help in achieving a goal without any economical profit or anything other in return, but only the moral satisfaction of being useful through the voluntary actions. We strongly believe that volunteering is a virtue that it is needed in society, so that citizens’ initiatives can become reality based on their own means and, of course, their hard work. Volunteering is more necessary than ever because of the severe social and economical problems we face every day in our country. It has become an essential part of our life. Insecurity for the future that is undermining our society has made many people and especially the younger ones eager to offer their assistance free of charge in order to contribute positively in “shaping” our universities, the environment that we work and live in, and eventually our society as a whole in a better way. What matters is the choice of young people, it is how they visualise their life and what expectations they have even from themselves. Definitely it is our time. Now or never. We have started a series of actions confronting poverty and degraded urban areas. Firstly, we organised a massive action that took place in 16 cities around Greece, concerning collection and distribution of goods to NGOs. We collected around 20,000 items (food, clothes, medicines and toys) and in this way we supported NGOs dealing with sensitive social groups, such as orphans, poor people and people in need of medical attention. Furthermore, since October we have been undertaking another initiative called “We are changing our neighborhood”. In this case we visit local parks, squares and playgrounds, and after careful planning we make specific changes so that when we leave it, it is in a better, cleaner, more green, and safer state than it was before. Usually, we plant lots of flowers and trees, we paint benches, football and basketball courts, clean any existing monuments, and the whole area. The result is quite satisfactory and it is reflected in the children’s eyes. To conclude, volunteering must be the driving force in the society of young people. It is opportunity to make things in our way, prove that we care and give some hope to the ones that need it. We have reached the point that we need only practical results instead of theoretical planning. This group of young people is constantly growing, giving us the chance to socialise even more with other people sharing our concerns, and by the end of the day offering even more and more. We are inspired by challenges and actions. Athanasios Karagiannis, Elena Stamati, Maria Samioti, DAP – NDFK’s Greece
aCtualities The first words which spring to mind when discussing the 2012 French presidential election are “very special”. Indeed Nicolas Sarkozy is candidate for his succession (and for UMP party) and François Hollande is the socialist leader but does not appear to be the first choice of the socialist party. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was seen as the natural socialist candidate for this crucial election but his case from last year ruined the socialist plans. When the campaign started between September and November 2011, the media and the political organizations had a close look at the candidacy of Marine Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, former leader of the National Front, far-right party) and the possibility of her managing to obtain similar results as her father did in 2002, when he managed to pass through to the second round, eliminating the socialist candidate. However they did not expect the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon to be the third man in this election. In fact for the last two months his percentage in the opinion polls raised dramatically to overtake Marine Le Pen. We can now count two populist and very charismatic candidates in this election. The general feeling about this election is that it French voters are not that interested but televised debates continue to attract more and more viewers. The campaign just does not arouse as much enthusiasm as in 2007. This is also because Nicolas Sarkozy is candidate for his succession and so the campaign started later. This is mainly due to the financial crisis and the repercussions it has on the general policies of France. Hope is reduced but hopefully not consciences. We will see that on 22 April when the first round will take place. The second round will follow on 6 May. Thus when you will read this article, Amelie Pommier, EDS
The French Presidential Election Which direction France will follow? 8
the election will have already have taken place and we hope that Nicolas Sarkozy will be the winner. 10 CANDiDATES
The number of candidates for the presidential election is ten. according to the latest opinion polls from the 5th of April when this article was written (opinion polls from Ifop for Fiducial/Paris Match) five candidates get more than 10% on the first round. Nicolas Sarkozy is first with 28,5%. He was second for a long time, before he really started to campaign. Moreover his result has increased steadily. Next comes François Hollande (socialist party) with 26,5%. Marine Le Pen (National Front) seems to have overtaken Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Left Front) again as she is predicted to win 16% and Mélenchon 13%. Nevertheless, Mélenchon’s results have always been very variable. François Bayrou (democratic movement), who was the third man in the presidential election in 2007, gets only 10%. Another surprise comes from the Greens. They had very good results in the last local elections but their candidate, Eva Joly, only gets 3%. This is due to their primary election, when the socialists helped them to choose the less charismatic candidate they had. For the other candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (The standing Republic) is predicted to win 1,5% and three far-left candidates : Philippe Poutou (new anticapitalist party) 1%, Nathalie Arthaud (Workers’ struggle) 0,5% and Jacques Cheminade (Solidarity and progress) less than 0,5%. The novelty of this presidential election is the surprising number of far-left candidates. They are four this year, three of whom are of Trotskyist leaning. For the second round, at the moment the opinion polls give Hollande as winner with
53% against Sarkozy with 47%. The situation can be reversed very quickly, especially with the traditional debate between the two candidates for the second round. The impact of this debate on TV has always been crucial for presidential elections in France. The international and European stature of Nicolas Sarkozy will certainly count in his favour. THE RED THREAT
The influence which Jean-Luc Mélenchon could gain out of this election is a real concern for French politics. Firstly it demonstrates the continuing influence of communists in France. Indeed, if he gets good results and François Hollande were elected President, the new French government would include communist ministers and policies would be more left-wing than those promised by the socialist candidate. France is not spared from the communist threat. uNi-MET ACTioN
UNI-MET (French member organization of EDS) was first to show signs of the threat Mélenchon represented for this presidential election. That is why UNI-MET has started campaigning almost a year ago about the Mélenchon’s threat. UNI-MET developed different campaigns about the “good” socialist program. The streets of France are covered with UNIMET posters and activists continue to spread the good word. “Don’t turn left” as the road sign became the slogan of UNI-MET action for this year’s election. Everywhere in France student committees supporting Nicolas Sarkozy are swelling under the leadership of UNI-MET. These groups are highly involved in this election and show how a large part of the youth believes in Sarkozy.
When in mid-January 2012 Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presented his government’s policies in the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg, many observers agreed that with this step, Orbán had undertaken a historic move: Never ever national governments were to initiate a debate about European questions directly on a European level, on the one and only European level that bears democratic legitimacy, the European Parliament. The Lisbon Treaty enables a revolutionary new set up, changing dramatically European politics. Binding the vote on any new European Commission President to an absolute majority of the EP members that “elect” and not only confirm what Heads of State and Government have agreed upon, Parliamentary majority situations on the European level will become the standard and the norm. This includes the possibility of the European Parliament to overrule Council decisions in this matter, thus forcing European Council to come up with a candidate acceptable for the majority of the EP. Following this pattern we can recognise not only a deep commitment to democratic procedures, but also the basic self-understanding of a parliamentary principle: It is the Parliament that decides and votes on the “government” they are about to impose control over. This scheme is nothing else than the usual practice in parliamentary democracies where the head of government is dependent from an absolute majority of all constituent members of the country’s legislative. But this new coefficient leads even further: Deriving from majority requirements for the “European government” we can easily witness the need to compile a political programme supported by Parliament’s majority which will evolve with all clarity to the new political role Parliament has already started to assume. This new responsibility is based upon clear party politics within the EP, also meaning to put European topics and debates at the forefront of Europe’s political development. European Democrat Students has welcomed this trend and shaped the respective far-reaching resolution “European Identity and EP elections” which it presented in the EPP Political Assembly in 2011 by pronouncing the need of conducting a Europe-wide campaign with a Europe-wide candidate and Europe-wide topics, but more importantly in practical terms the urgent prerequisite of finding possible allies and coalition partners. All such future decisions in the EP will be
European debates Bence Bauer, EDS
the future of European politics
strictly based on the outcome of European elections and the party-political composition of Europe’s “legislative body”. These developments naturally include a stronger role for a European Identity that is indispensible when it comes to shape Europe-wide political competition. So why is it that the presence of the Hungarian PM was so decisive and important for this denouement? First of all he gave additional credit to the endeavours of the European Parliament in shaping debates and was historically the first leader of a country awarding a European decision making forum such appreciation. But moreover, his country was targeted by leftist politicians for alleged infringements of European laws. And this brings us to the point where the importance of European debates become crystal-clear. Even today, leftists consisting of SocialDemocrats, Greens and Liberals are close to an absolute majority in the EP, a simple one they have for sure. The three of them obviously seek to gain by 2014 even more, thus being able to dominate European politics for the upcoming years. Their illustrious leaders, Schulz (now as President of the Parliament), Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt (who has extreme-right Slovak HZDS in his ranks…) have found together to shape debates they believe to be the right ones, one of their narratives is “Hungary-bashing”, an
aggressive interference in a democratic country’s life, mandated by alleged EU-law infringements, with constant repetition of false pieces of information and exaggerated worries about Hungary’s democratic commitment. What started earlier this year with picking a country with the strongest conservative majority as a “favourite enemy” will be soon leading even beyond. European public trends and publicity will be domesticated by leftist approaches and ideas, in this respect the anticipated “traffic light coalition” in the EP more and more shapes the trend, this being a dangerous and frightening development. The more important it is for us ChristianDemocrats and Conservatives to find our own narratives and features that can bring a new kind of European debate on the stage. The EPP, the biggest group in the EP, has to fully penetrate the impact of European political debate and is to highlight the key achievements and visions of Europe’s centre-right leaders. A pronunciation of our core values such as family, work, performance-based economy, freedom, subsidiarity, sustainable economic governance, fiscal discipline and the independence and respect of national states must be placed in the forefront. In this sense the centre-right is able to win in 2014 and thus present a majority in the EP. We have to seize these opportunities in order to possess them.
Creativity and econ omy
Interview with Zora Jaurová.
Juraj Antal, EDS
how does it go together? WHAT iS CREATiVE ECoNoMY? Industry moved its money to services in the 20th century. After the industrial era a new era marked by a services economy emerged. However, in the past decades it became more obvious that the sectors of the economy which generates the most growth and profits is no longer based on capital, production capabilities or services. The new economic champions is those areas which are founded on creative/innovative ideas. This can be best seen in the news, entertainment, IT and other sectors. What matters is what people have in their heads. That is what stands behind the success of companies such as Apple.
Zora Jaurova – dramaturge, producer, art critic, expert on cultural policies and creative industries. Zora has a MA degree in theatre, and has worked as a dramaturge on various theatre projects in Slovakia. She was a director of the national agency for EU cultural programs and a Slovak representative to the Cultural Affairs Committee in the Council of the EU. For several years she was the vice-president of Culture Action Europe (former EFAH). She is the co-author of Kosice – ECOC 2013 project, until May 2011 she was the Artistic Director and Director General of the project. Zora is the President of the Slovak Creative Industry Forum, and participates in cultural planning and policies development projects, as well as projects connecting arts and entrepreneurship, and creative industries development. She also works as a ﬁlm producer.
WHY iS THAT? It is the symbolic price of the goods that is important over its real value. This means that companies like Nike or Coca Cola stopped selling the product long ago; they are selling a life style, an identity a feeling of belonging. In the end if you want to sell such things you need a brilliant idea; intuitive language is almost the language of the art! HoW iS iT iN EuRoPE, iS THERE A CHART oF CouNTRiES THAT ARE MoRE oR lESS oPEN To THE CREATiVE ECoNoMY? The European Commission published a study in 2005, on the Economics of Culture and that was the first overview study about this sector in the EU (It looked at the EU 27 + 5 more countries outside the EU). The findings are very interesting; it can be found on the link bellow. The findings were made before the crisis hit us. I feel that if the results were published today, they would not change significantly; on the contrary, I believe they would be even more outstanding over the other sectors of the economy. This was the most rapidly growing field of the economy in all of the target countries and generated larger revenues that the chemical industry in all of Europe. The outlooks for growth were positive with space to increase its share of the economy. iF WE BREAK iT DoWN FuRTHER To CouNTRiES, ARE THERE ANY WHiCH SuPPoRT THE CREATiVE
ECoNoMY, WHo WoRK oN THiS MoRE THAN THE oTHERS? The case of the United Kingdom is very well known. It is safe to say it has had a long term government strategy for a very long time. In the 90s the government recognized this field of the economy – back then they called it creative industries. Minister of Culture, Lord Smith, was the first one who had a pioneering mapping study made into this subject. This sector is quite undefinable, as the standard criteria do not apply on this field. It has its specific characteristics, its unique working cycle, cash flow, types of employment etc. So to sum up a positive and forward moving strategy in Europe would be to recognize this sector in the country’s economy and the full understanding of its specific. This was successfully done in the UK already in the end of the 90s, which saw the
emergence of a national strategy for creative industries, or “creative economy”. This led further to the development of many regional strategies to support creative industries in Britain, which in my mind is another feature of this kind of the economy. In a nutshell, if there are good conditions for the development of this sector, it can be a great boost for the local economy. This sector is founded mostly on individual businesses or very small to medium sized companies leading to a fair assumption that they are concentrated to towns and urban areas. However, in the UK there are very interesting regional strategies that are using the creative economy for the development of the less developed areas of the UK. If we speak about a type of economy that is based on people’s ideas, it is very easy to work over the computer, be online anywhere with
anyone on the planet. However, there needs to be a set of prerequisites for the functioning of these individual businesses in order for them to move and settle in those towns and regions. ARE You SuGGESTiNG THERE NEEDS To BE iNTERNET CoNNECTioN? (laugh) Not only that. We are talking about a relatively sophisticated work force that is highly mobile and will move to live where they like it and not where there is something tying them down to one location (e.g. a factory or call centre). WHAT HElPS THE CouNTRiES To ATTRACT CREATiVE ECoNoMY? iS iT iNTERNET PENETRATioN liKE iN THE NoRDiC CouNTRiES oR ESToNiA? iS iT SPRiNGiNG FRoM THE uNiVERSiTiES THAT ARE MoRE oPEN AND NoT PullED BACK BY
STRiCT NATioNAl CuRRiCulA? Surely, all of the above. Estonia is a country that is a prime example of a country coming from the former eastern bloc, which is systematically working on promoting the creative economy. They want it to be their flagship representation article abroad. It is creating conditions for the creative economy. In their structured funds scheme coming from the EU, they have a clear strategy of supporting this sector, which is rare. It all comes from the idea of an American theorist of urbanism, Richard Florida, who wrote the book “The Rise of the Creative Class”. It is based on hard data collected over many years. He first described what the creative industry – economy is and later stated that cites that are capable of making all the conditions right for the high concentration of creative class (indi-
viduals with a creative talent) are those cities that have the highest economic growth, are developing the fastest and are the most successful. ARE THERE ANY CiTiES liKE THiS iN EuRoPE? Certainly, yes. He wrote about the US, but in Europe we have Berlin or Barcelona, where people, not only artists, but creative spirited individuals move because it is tolerant. This is why I mention Florida and his book, because he came up with three “T” indicators for success. Technology – that is clear, it needs to have high speed internet, all the technologies necessary that these people can work. Talent – means that the city can attract talented people and Tolerance- that is an interesting factor. Florida means a good mixture of tolerance for cultural and other diversity. This brings innovation. If you think how innovation is coming about then you would see that normally something innovative comes to mind when non-traditional things meet. From this meeting comes a new idea. Tolerance is meant by Florida, to the other cultures, multinational, multi-religions, tolerant towards alternative sexuality and ultimately can concentrate people from many different job fields in one area. Summing up: diversity and tolerance is the final and key part of a creative economy to flourish. HoW iS iT WiTH EDuCATioN THEN? Education is very important. You said it already, Nordic countries with good education systems (Sweden, Finland) that have high quality of education but also the way, how they understand education. The typical example now is the Aalto University in Helsinki, where the technical field merged with the economic and art fields into one university. Yes, when you walk down the design district of Helsinki, you do not want to leave. Yes, you named it exactly. This is a prime example of what we talk about. You come to a city and you want to stay. So if a city or a region decides to create a neighbourhood such as the design district of Helsinki, it needs to create conditions for this specific economy. You go to Helsinki today and you want to stay there, even if seen from an objective viewpoint living costs are high, there is not much light in the winter, but you have the feeling that you want to stay. The city attracted this type of creative minds and workforce that make up this district. SHoulD THERE BE A STRATEGY oN AN Eu lEVEl To SuPPoRT CREATiVE ECoNoMiES? WoulD iT HElP? The European Commission is working on this
Bullseye on already. Since there is a new budget coming up from 2014 to 2020, the Commission’s suggestion is containing a unified and complex strategy to support culture and cultural projects, which entail all these new impulses. The program was called Culture, now it should be called Creative Europe. This strategy takes the creative economy into account, which is not purely art; that has a different set of demands for its functioning and perception. The new proposal combines culture with the economic benefit for member states/regions of the EU. Member states also submitted suggestions to the Commission on how to unearth the potential of the creative economy. These recommendations are not only for the EU, but for other EU institutions. In short, this agenda is quite strongly present in the European policy arena. YouR ADViCE FoR MEMBER STATES FoR THE NEW FiSCAl PERioD 2014-2020? It is hard to state if there should be a separate operational program nationally or if it should be part of the Competitiveness operational program. This touches many subjects including
reports competitiveness and development, regional development, culture, education and labour market regulations. That is why the Estonian model is an interesting one. Their strategy is not to make any kind of national documents entitled ‘The National Strategy for Supporting of the Creative Economy’ but rather to mainstream the conditions that would help this industry into all the policies of the state. This means close coordination between the ministries of Culture, Economy, and Finance; keeping in mind all the time that there is something that has a large potential. A meaningful and fruitful policy approach is to ensure that policy makers think of this field when drafting new laws, regulations and all decisions take this overreaching priority into account. A NAiVE QuESTioN MAYBE, BuT STill, HoW DoES THE MiNiSTRY FolloW SuCH TENDENCiES iN SoCiETY? HoW Do MiNiSTERiAl BuREAuCRATS iDENTiFY CREATiVE PoTENTiAl iN THE PEoPlE oF THAT PARTiCulAR CouNTRY? If you go to someone from the Ministry of Economy, who has an economic education
he/she has probably never heard of creative industries, because it is unseen. Frequently it is as simple as not creating too many barriers of entry for business. After all, in many aspects, these people are the same entrepreneurs as anyone else. One such example is credit. When you want a loan from a bank to start your business, you need to submit a business model/plan and all the forms to the bank so that they can evaluate whether you are creditworthy. All your assets and liabilities are taken into account. For the majority of people who work in the creative industry, most of their assets are intellectual property rights. In many banks, these property rights are ignored and they do not fit their schemes and models, affecting their ability to obtain credit. The Creative Europe proposal addresses this by providing that the European Commission will take over the guarantees. Easier access to capital is a key element and needs to be integrated into policy development and legislative proposals. This is the realisation of the aim to mainstream creative economies into the policy making of all ministries. On the other hand if you make it difficult for them to do accounting and add other bureaucratic obstacles to their business they will move elsewhere because, as mentioned earlier, they are highly mobile. Finally I feel the last thing that will be spoken about, not only in Europe but in the world, is the effective protection of intellectual property rights. On the one hand we need to protect creators of ideas that create a right to their idea as their own but on the other hand it needs to be free enough not to stifle creativity and innovation at its early stage under the excuse of protection of authors’ rights. The ACTA agreement comes to mind now, but I think it will be a topic for the whole world. The understanding of the intellectual property rights protection is generally outdated and old. Paradoxically the crisis brings even more space for the creative economy because in times of crisis it is about the survival of the most ingenuous. Only those who will be able to create something in hard times and their countries properly support them are going to come out ahead in the mid to long term. This industry grew in times of crisis as creative economy is very fluid. These people are very flexible in switching from one role to another, whereas an established factory producing goods cannot adapt to change nearly as fast. Since these are basically micro businesses they are able to adapt to new work loads, challenges and different schemes much more quickly.
A few words on humanitarianism in Syria
Andraz Kastelic, EDS
Why ICRC and not Oxfam or MSF?
Although civil war has raged in Syria since March last year and despite the fact that the conflict claimed somewhere between 6,000 and 11,000 lives and resulted in 32,000 civilians being injured, the only humanitarian organization active in this troubled country remains the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC). Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for now operate only from the neighbouring countries and try to apply diplomatic pressure to the government of Bashar al-Assad. Additionally, aid agencies, at least for now, reject militarised humanitarian corridors proposed in February by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, knowing that a foreign military presence in Syria would most likely escalate to military humanitarian intervention on a large scale. By supporting international community actions like this, relief agencies would be able to enter the country on one hand, but would consequently transform their personnel into “legitimate targets” for the Syrian Arab Army. Practicing a politically sensitive approach, curing the tumour instead of putting bandages on it, is the primary reason MSF, Oxfam and those alike are today not present in Syria. II would bet that local government still remembers the open call of MFS for military intervention in Rwanda in 1994 or is not pleased by Oxfam’s petition calling on the UN Security Council to condemn the violence in Syria and to push for unimpeded access for humanitarian aid. But not being on the ground makes serving their very own purpose very hard. Should MSF, Oxfam and other agencies honestly want to enter Syria for the sake of its people in need, they will temporary have to suspend the New Humanitarian doctrine and the politically sensitive approach to the issues at hand. They will need to employ the principle of neutrality and for a second pretend human and civil rights violations are non-existent in Syria. Dictators really don’t like whistle-blowers. Outrageous as it seems, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship between warring parties and traditional humanitarians, among them ICRC, saved numerous lives in the course of history.
Because traditional aid workers, guided by principals of international humanitarian law, often ignore human rights violations on the ground and avoid raising these issues in the international arena, they are simply are not perceived as a nuisance by the established ruling administration. This policy did, for example, allow the ICRC in the late 20th century to negotiate access to Milošević’s Serbia and at first to be the only humanitarian agency to deliver relief. However the ICRC’s approach has its downsides and it is indeed often criticized for not being sensitive and politically conscious. Rigorously following the neutrality mantra, traditional humanitarianism tends to feed the killers and consequently fuel the conflict. One of the most notorious cases dates back to 1995, where Hutu warriors, stationed and fed in Zaire refugee camps returned regularly to Rwanda to go Tutsi-hunting.
At this moment all eyes are on Kofi Annan. The former UN Secretary General, now UNArab League joint envoy for Syria travelled to the hot zone and even to Russia in order to secure a Six-Point peace plan, which would inter alia ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting and convince warring parties to implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause. This would, in theory, open the door to other humanitarian organizations to enter Syria and eventually lead to the end of Assad’s rule. EDS closely monitors worrying developments in Syria and already condemned the aggressive suppression of the civil uprising by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party led Government and called on both the Syrian Arab Army and Free Syrian Army to refrain from the escalation of violence across the state.
Presidential election in Russia Andrzej Dąbrowski, NZS Poland
commented all around the world possibility of a massive fraud during election, made it possible for Vladimir Putin to become the President of Russian Federation for a third time.
Moscow does not believe in Tears
On election night 4th of march 2012, Vladimir Putin’s eyes filled with tears of overwhelming joy, while he was introduced by Dmitry Medvedev as winner of a race to Kremlin in which there was no possibility for him not to win. Standing before several thousand Moscow dwellers he delivered a short speech on how the election was a test for Russian people to show the nations pride and independence. Probably the most memorable and important was that Mr. Putin said “Thanks to all those who said yes to great Russia”. But where his words and his tears that night true and honest? Is it possible for a man whose political career was always based on power and intransigence towards his opponents and leaders of other countries to become a democratic leader capable to understand and share common peoples wills and dreams, and to recognize the power of true democracy? Very few that night believed so. It became very obvious when Red Square abandoned instantly after the meeting came to an end. Well organized by Putin’s election committee, the participants dismissed to busses that brought them to manifest their support, but first they were granted with some money for time spend showing that support. No one really thought that there is a smallest chance to defeat Vladimir Putin in this election, neither his supporters or especially members of opposition parties. Its 6 more years of Putin in Kremlin, and probably 6 more when this term will come to an end. THE loST CHANCE oF DECEMBER After December elections to the federal chamber of the parliament, which were considered by the opposition to be faked, great manifestations organized by anti Putin movements took place in Petersburg and Moscow. Thousands of people, mainly city dwellers, led by opposition leaders and soon to become candidates to the presidential office, shown their dissatis-
WHAT NoW? There is no doubt among political commentators that it was an unnecessary action to fake presidential elections in any possible way. Putin could have easily won in first round by gaining at least 55% of votes. Still it seems that there is no one who can or wants to show and publicly stigmatize irregularities that may occured on 4th of March. Till the next presidential election, assuming that gas and oil prices will stay at a stable high level, the government won’t be in need to create a public debt to live up to promises of a safe, socially orientated state in which unless you are a direct threat for the government, Putin and his state apparatus is sure to maintain in power and close to “bribe feeding” private sector. For what Russians want right now is not an unlimited access to power or a state of law. What they want is stability based on economic order of state control. The question remains for how long can a situation like this maintain, and what will happen when simultaneously growth of middle class will follow with lack of income from exporting oil and gas? Till that day we wait.
faction of Putin and Medvedev’s policies, and demanded true democratic elections, freedom for prisoners of conscience which are being held captive under pretext of fraud or corruption. Soon after the demonstrations ended it was obvious for members of opposition parties that something has changed within the nation’s ability to resist against the states administration. But none of the leaders, either communist MP Gennady Zyuganov, the nationalists leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky or billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov well-thought-of by the middle class, were unable to recognize that a big and inten-
sive movement, directed against Kremlin and Putin himself, could change the score for all major protagonists in their soon to began race to power. Instead of that almost no actions were held until the elections, causing Putin’s administration and supporters to strengthen their efforts towards victory. STABiliTY While the opposition waited in a state of confidence that change is soon to come, Putin’s administration gathered its usual supporters by showing everyone that salaries are growing
and being paid on time, pensions are also sure to appear every month and that the number of crimes committed is falling every year. This simple message caused a sense of stability for Russians visualized by Putin and Medvedev’s policy of governing the state. It is true that this move was based citizens of Russian Federation fear of once again living in a state similar to one they remember from the 90’s. On the other hand new voters would be encouraged to cast votes for Putin in March by a series o seven articles in mayor newspapers, in which prime minister promised several moves towards changing Rus-
sia into a modern and friendly state by fighting corruption, simplifying and renewing the social system, strengthening security levels against inside and outside threats and what is most important for middle class citizens introduced new mechanisms of public involvement . Same time trade unions of Russian Federations biggest branches of industry like steel workers, gas and oil extractors, policeman and the army were ensured about Putin’s policy on maintaining Russia a welfare state focused on social issues with a special focus on listed branches of state economy. This, and widely
Bosnian nation to be born Goran Trkulja (translation by: Pavle Trkulja)
The question is not ‘will Bosnia ever become one nation’?
“Bosnia isn’t just Serbian, Croatian or Muslim, it belongs to the Serbs , Croats and Muslims!” was a popular and often used slogan in Yugoslavia. Because of this, Bosnia was commonly referred to as “Yugoslavia in miniature”. It meant that Yugoslavia, nor Bosnia, belonged to one of the nations living there, but that they belonged to all nations together. The Yugoslav nation was a nation being shaped trough time, but was struck down on its way to maturity! As the Yugoslav federation was being torn by the ongoing war in Croatia and more republics declared their independence, it was to be expected that Bosnia would soon follow their example. Bosnia was to be divided by the three nations living within her borders, all living together. Now Bosnians (all three of them) had to make new borders within their country, but along ethnic lines. People of all three entities were expelled from the parts of the country where they formed a minority, seeking refuge in a part where they
formed a majority. This meant that from now on, each Bosnian ethnic group had her own part of the country. Unlike Yugoslavia, Bosnia managed to survive within this construction. Not because a Bosnian nation was suddenly born, but because none of the ethnic groups had anywhere to go. The Bosnian Serbs, are in many ways different from their brothers in Serbia. As well
as speaking differently (they have a different dialect), they have different habits and ethical values. The Bosnian Croats are also in many ways different from their counterparts in Croatia, both in their way of speaking and in their customs. One could even say that their behavior and customs are more similar to the other two nations in Bosnia than to their Croatian cousins. The Bosnian Muslims (who just before the war adapted a new name – Bosniaks) also are much more like their fellow Bosnians in the Serb and Croatian camps then to their fellow Bosniaks living in Serbia and Montenegro. All three ethnic Bosnian groups, Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, are native Bosnians who have not had the chance yet to form one nation! This is not surprising, if we take a look at history. Nations were formed in most of Western Europe during the nineteenth century, together with the delineation of their borders. So, for example, the Dutch nation lived within Holland. The Belgians, even though bilingual were now one nation, living within their Belgian borders. The same goes for the French, Germans and Italians. Bosnia however, became independent for the first time in contemporary history in December of 1995. The Bosnian nation, is yet to be born! The question is not ‘will Bosnia ever become one nation’? The question is when? Because every other solution would result in breaking Bosnia to pieces which could easily lead to new ethnic tensions, possibly even a new war. As much as Bosnia depends on her own three ethnicities forming one nation, the factors to make this happen lie even more so abroad. Contemporary Bosnia probably has the most expensive and complex system of government in Europe. The plan for a new Bosnian government, was formed in Dayton Ohio during negotiations between the warring factions. Today, Bosnia is still unofficially called ‘Dayton Bosnia’. She exists out of two entities and one central government. The central government however, has less authority then an average Bosnian city. The Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is made
up of three men, one from each ethnic group, all defending the rights of their own ethnicity. This is the best example of Bosnian division and inability to cooperate. The governments of the two entities in Banja Luka (Republika Srpska) and Sarajevo (Federation of BiH) have the real power in the parts of the country under their administration. In the Federation of BiH, every canton (of which there are ten) even has its own parliament! There is then a small area in the north called Brcko district, which belongs to neither the Federation, nor Republika Srpska, which also has it’s own parliament. This costly construction is being paid by the taxpayers of the weakest economy in Europe. In addition, there is the Office of the High Representative (OHR) which has unlimited authority in Bosnia. The High Representative is always a foreigner who remains in power for a few years, and then leaves the country exactly the way it was before his arrival. Such a fragmented government can lead to nothing good. This complex system is often incomprehensible even for the most educated of Bosnians. In short: that is why it so easy to maintain a corrupt political oligarchy in Bosnia which legitimizes its position through fear of the other ethnic groups. The ruling parties in both Banja Luka and Sarajevo fill the peoples heads with propaganda and distrust towards each other. The country’s surrounding Bosnia are also effected by the ethnic division within her boundaries. The ethnic Croats in Bosnia are a key factor during the elections held in Croatia. Almost all have a Croatian passport in addition to their Bosnian one, and are allowed to vote. So partially, they decide how Croatia will be ruled. Croatia therefore has a great interest in upholding economic relationships with their cousins in Bosnia. The Serbian government in Belgrade, has a “special bond” with the Serbian entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska. She uses her Serb brothers in Bosnia, in order to gain political points among the voting public, showing of as the big defender of Serb rights in Bosnia. After losing Kosovo, the issue of what is Serb
land gained political importance. The US, EU, Germany, Great Britain and Russia are all active within the OHR. This makes it rather difficult for them to have one single strategy concerning the ‘issue’ of Bosnia. The last time Europe actually showed interest in making a change in Bosnia, to prepare the road towards EU membership was in 2005. A plan was made for a so-called European Constitution in Bosnia. However, the Bosnians declined this plan. Since then it seems Europe has not had the time, nor the will to seriously engage in Bosnian affairs. It is most certainly not in Europe’s interest to have squabbling neighbors in its back yard, ready to scratch each others eyes out whenever they find the chance to do so. So, what is needed to make Bosnia move forward towards a brighter future? The solution seems to be rather simple. And the recipe for this solution was made by the FIFA and UEFA (world and European football organizations). For not living up to the standards implemented by the UEFA, the Bosnian football association was suspended from taking part in international football activities. This meant not only that the national team was suspended, but also that Bosnian football clubs were suspended from taking part in the European cup. The isolation implemented by the UEFA was very effective. European football associations were not allowed to have any contact whatsoever with Bosnian clubs. This meant that players could not be bought and gambling on matches was forbidden. So no contact meant no money! How did the Bosnians respond to this isolation? Well, in less then two months the Bosnian football association adjusted to the wishes of the UEFA. A similar approach could be taken in Bosnian politics. The EU could come up with terms meant to uphold the recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign state without any intervention by her neighbors: Croatia and Serbia. This would be the first step in forming a Bosnian nation, and with it, a modern and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.
WHAT’S ECONOMY WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE?
WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE?
Kalin Zahariev, EDS
Since ancient times human kind has been collecting knowledge about everything in attempt to explain their surrounding environment. Much later knowledge has been diversified and gradually systematised due to its complex nature. Then proficiency in certain areas of knowledge has become needed and thus professions have emerged. Today all aspects of our lives depend on knowledge - from the ability to read to space science. It all comes down to what-why-how-who relation. The first two represent the traditional perception - knowledge about facts, data, scientific principles and laws. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ are generally produced through the education and research systems. That is where knowledge is general and it means information, needed by experts, lawyers or doctors. The know-how and know-who knowledge relates to modern day needs and trends in business and entrepreneurship. Developing a know-how relates to the skills and practical knowledge on how to do something. This is crucially important as labour market demands transform in the context of competition environment and market shares. The know-who aspect is the latest trend, directly related to knowledge at individual level - who knows what and how to do what. This is where the idea of personal qualification and capability matters the most. That kind of knowledge turns out to be the most important when it comes to the private sector where valuable employees bring competitive advantage. These four types of knowledge give us a good example on how important it is to society, economy and individuals. Today’s knowledge no longer means knowing only facts. It is a mixture of information, skills and practical experience. The meaning of knowledge is so crucial today that a whole field of management has been established - knowledge management. This branch of management aims to deliver maximum output and efficiency out of available knowledge resources. For instance, application of appropriate knowledge leads to reduction of costs, expansion and growth, increasing of value and profitability, improvement of products and services, greater enterprise flexibility. So, in fact, knowledge is a resource that does not originate by default and is closely related to learning - education, training and practice. The experience from the financial crisis revealed that education and training are vulnerable to budget cuts. Instead of laying the foundations of recovery by investment in education, research and innovations, governments actually tend to slow down the bail-out process. Putting it in a simpler way, knowledge is more important than money. From a personal perspective there is no way to earn money without knowledge, right? But from a global point of view it’s even more important to invest in a long-term solution to problems such as unemployment, slow capacity building, low competitiveness and even sluggish GDP growth.
The European Union has never been more vulnerable than now. The main reason for this occurence is, obviously, the ongoing sovereign debt crisis. Its tremendous inﬂuence on economy, society and politics is what makes all 27 countries swim back to the surface from the bottom. What does Europe need to power itself out of the downfall? Is it the next bailout plan to save banks and member states? Is it the initiative by a handful of countries to devise a uniﬁed stability model for the EU? Is it only the attempt to tackle problems by ignoring their roots? It almost looks like it.
WHY KNOWLEDGE IS POWER?
As everyone feels the effect of the crisis, an obvious common understanding is that economies can no longer exist unless transformation occurs. There are several reasons for that. The traditional resource heavy production sustains significant downfall since much of the resources it relies on are finite. There is a growing need of intelligent production based on innovative methods and materials. This is where research is needed. Another reason for the economic model shift is the actual mismatch between economy and society needs or, to put it otherwise, the extent to which societies benefit from economies. The term knowledge-based economy has been around for a long time. Knowledge based economy is based on the production, distribution and the use of knowledge. The pillars of the model are knowledge, skills and their constant development. The European Commission has successfully embodied the knowledge-based economy principles in Europe 2020 strategy. Currently the most difficult part turns out to be implementation due to the 27 different viewpoints and opinions.
No radical statements can be made here. However, basic general remarks are evident. • Knowledge cannot be regarded as a separate on-its-own process. It is actually a part of a system that we have established and keep developing. Knowledge itself has unlimited potential, just like the renewable power sources. And just like them it needs to be out to used on a larger scale. • Knowledge will always be in demand because it is the key to economic, societal, and personal development and prosperity. There is a simple rule of thumb - knowledge leads to success by providing opportunities. After all, headhunters invest a great deal of time and funding in attracting and retaining the most capable, skilled and proper personnel for the job. This is why knowledge means employment, especially in times of high youth unemployment. It is closely related to skills, qualification, which guarantee higher job security apart from higher income. • Knowledge is highly dependent on the system of education. So, the better the higher education system is, the stronger knowledge leverage is applicable to development. Better in this sense means productive and demand oriented. • The chain of education-research-innovation-economy needs a jump-start in many countries and there is no better moment to transform the old fashioned economy to knowledge-based economy. • Scientific and innovation clusters and networks need more support in order to improve knowledge production, transfer and implementation. Knowledge distribution through formal and informal networks is essential to economic performance. Those networks consist of higher education institutions, scientific and innovation organisations and businesses. They benefit from each other and societies and governments benefit from their product.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER CAMPAIGN In 2010, European Democrat Students adopted a Resolution on Budget Cuts for Higher Education in Times of Crisis. We were the pioneers in opposing the governments that reduced higher education budgets. Not only has awareness been promoted since then, but concrete measures were suggested to the European Commission, European governments and stakeholders. In 2012 we launched a European campaign called ‘Knowledge is Power’ in order to underline the key role of knowledge in economy and society.
THE UNDISCOVERED SOURCE As the European economy struggles to survive the crisis, the impact on higher education systems across the EU was evident through the period 2009-2011. The contrast between the concept of knowledge-based economy and actual budget cuts was as clear as the fact that higher education is a central pillar for sustainable economic growth, turbo charging economies. On the other hand, the idea of a knowledge-based economy remains somewhere in-between universities, governments and businesses. It’s worth taking time on some clarifications in order to understand the undiscovered power source.
Vladimir Sucha, European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture
Talent and individual creativity for 21st century The learning ecosystem should be based on diversity, desegregation and interaction. Increased cultural heterogeneity in combination with unprecedented technological development of the past two decades are recognized as major factors in the evolution of our society. This evolution has brought opportunities for our lives to become more dynamic, open, and democratic. It may however, at the same time, increase the risk of deeper exclusion, closeness, and even xenophobia, if we are not able to respond to the challenges of life with adequate mental flexibility supported by the right combination of soft skills. This capacity to respond to the challenges of our personal life, interpersonal relations, and job related activities is called personal creativity. It is as important as literacy. All human beings are born with this capacity. It is deeply rooted in our spirit and it is part of our mental power. Some may call it a talent. Sometimes talent comes out spontaneously and it is clearly visible if a person is talented. More often it must be discovered and unlocked. It is like mineral resources. They too can be found on the surface but in the most cases must be extracted from deep parts of the Earth. Discovering and unlocking the talent and creative potential of people is a lifelong endeavour. It must be nurtured, stimulated, and trained throughout a person’s life. The flourishing of talent and creativity is not only Vladimír Sucha is Director for Culture and Media at the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. He is responsible for four units covering different tasks of the DG. Previously, he was Director of the Slovak Research and Development Agency (2005-2006), a national body in the Slovak Republic for funding research, promoting international cooperation, research culture, and scientiﬁc advice. He also worked as Principal advisor for European Affairs to the Minister of Education of the Slovak Republic (2004-2005). Vladimír has been working at the Slovak Representation to the EU in Brussels for four years as research, education and culture counselor (2000-2004). At the same time he has a long-term academic and research background – full professor of the Comenius University in Bratislava and visiting professor/ scientist at different institutions in many countries.
important for individual fulfilment and satisfaction, it is becoming a more and more fundamental asset for successful enterprises, institutions, regions and countries. The ability to attract this talent will soon be a part of a fierce global competition. Education and learning are decisive in unlocking the creative potential of people. However it seems that the current education paradigm largely based on a linear, one way approach, developed for a purpose of the industrial revolution of 19th and 20th centuries, is failing to unlock these talents. It is not delivering the right combination of skills to the generation of the 21st century. An increased gap between business and education, a high rate of early school leavers and multiple problems for teachers to attract and stimulate the pupils and students are just a few visible syndromes. The current system is largely centralised, and standardised (like the fast food model of catering). It is focused on the teacher as the source of well established knowledge which is transmitted to the recipients who are then ready to use it in their jobs. This implicitly triggers an abstract concept of a linear correlation between the accumulated knowledge and the quality of job. This approach worked successfully in the analogue era but it is not sustainable in the digital environment. In the past the ownership
of information, data or systemic knowledge, not readily and globally available, represented a comparative advantage and helped to bring success in the job market (knowledge gatekeepers). Nowadays, access to knowledge is no longer exclusive. Sources of knowledge are diversified and multiple. Moreover, innovation is no longer the product of linear processes from laboratory to consumers. It relies heavily on the quality and diversity of partnerships across different sectors and types of actors. It also means that the role of education institutions is changing. We need to rethink education. The new system should move its focus from the dissemination of knowledge to the stimulation of creativity and skills development. It should become a source of inspiration and critical thinking. It should encourage entrepreneurship and should stop stigmatizing mistakes. Graduates should be able to process knowledge, interact with others (culturally and professionally), and innovate (create non-traditional connections). This requires a systemic shift in how education institutions work, a shift in the understanding of the roles of teacher and student. We need to redesign the curricula, make more synergies between formal and informal learning, and diversify the composition of learning groups. It seems that the invention of a learning ecosystem could be the answer to the current and future challenges. The biological term ecosystems is used because it reflects the need for a flexible space allowing interactions between the participants, leading to a dynamic equilibrium and a creative, self confident, integral, and emphatic personality. The ecosystem should contain students (learners) of diverse cultural and social backgrounds, scientists, teachers (knowledge brokers), managers, businessmen, artists. The learning ecosystem should be based on three basic principles expressed by three buzzwords - diversity, desegregation, interaction. Each principle should be understood and applied in its very broad meaning. Diversity should embrace the groups/individuals which are different from anthropological, cultural, social, occupational points of view. Desegregation should mean lifting the barriers between age groups, teachers/trainers and learners, between subjects, institutions, education and business etc. Interaction should represent the main working method based on exchanges between all parts of the desegregated and diverse parts of the ecosystem. The culture should become a matrix for this new learning environment. It is an irreplaceable catalyser of the mind and the main building material of our social fabric, bringing to the front ethical and moral values.
Higher Education VS Unemployment
Matija Magerl, EDS
With the greatest ﬁnancial crisis of our time still raging all over Europe, unemployment rates are reaching new peaks every single day. According to the latest available Eurostat report, the overall Euro area unemployment rate went up to 10.8% in February 2012 going to almost 24% in Spain, 15% in Portugal and 21% in Greece. Unemployment thus became the number one issue in Europe, especially among young people who ﬁnd themselves desperately seeking any kind of work. For European youth this is not an easy endeavour. A European worker is more expensive for employers than any other worker in the world. The European model of welfare state with health insurance and retirement planning run by expensive and often inefficient national governments increases the costs of labour extensively. In many countries employers are also faced with quite rigid labour legislation which overprotects employees to a level that significantly lowers their employability chances. Workers have a general idea of ‘being set for life’ once they sign their work contracts and show very little motivation to
be more flexible and more ‘wanted’ on the job market afterwards. In the 21st century world which is running faster and faster with each passing day there is a need for much more workforce mobility and flexibility than that provided by the European idea of ‘flexicurity’ which still sticks to this kind of legislation. And, while government officials and other European stakeholders still discuss these issues and still dwell upon possible ‘inside the box’ solutions, ordinary citizens try to make ends meet as the current market situation allows. Employers consequently go on a collective treasure hunt for a ‘perfect worker’ – a person
in their mid-twenties, highly educated (preferably with more than one master degree), highly proficient in at least two European languages and extremely experienced in the respective line of work. On the other hand, young would-be employees respond to these market demands within the limits of their abilities by trying to get as much of state-paid education as possible, chasing scholarships and good grades, without any time to pursue their extracurricular interests or even getting some work experience along the way. The result is clear: overeducated, under experienced workers, exhausted from years of being stuck at the universities, without ever meeting the real world. In other words, not exactly what employers were looking for. They cannot risk employing anybody who hasn’t gained some work experience after or during their studies. This means that a young person needs to give it a go at volunteering at some point in their life, prolonging their learning period for at least couple of years. If they’re lucky, they can be competitive on the job market at the age of 30 and start earning their pay while they’re still ‘young’. However, higher education is still righteously talked about as the key to solving the unemployment crisis. This shouldn’t be just any ‘higher education’ or the model of ‘lifelong learning’ we currently have in Europe as described above. Stakeholders need to work more proactively to achieve proper coordination between universities, business and civic sectors as the pillars of our society. Higher education institutions need to be tied to the labour market as much as possible and employability should become the central idea behind their curricula. Educational practice and extracurricular activities should be recognised as a form of learning. Higher education has no meaning whatsoever if students are not trained to function in the real life job market after finishing their studies. States should invest more into creating programmes that would make higher education institutions and businesses interdependent. Providing direct subsidies for students only prolongs their university life and shortens their working age and it is thus an ineffective ‘welfare measure’. Finally, labour legislation needs to be liberalised so that the maxim ‘easy to fire, easy to hire’ would be followed more closely. Education deserves the time, the money and determination needed for development of such programmes as it is unmistakeably the best preventer of unemployment.
Mariam Chakhvadze, YSO Graali, Georgia
Youth Policy Trends in South Caucasus For 2012-2013 the European Commission allocated additional funding for cooperation with the member countries within the youth in action program, creating the “Eastern Partnership Youth Window.” This raises the question how much “EaP youth” is prioritized internally. With regards this I will try to outline main challenges faced by the south Caucasian youth.
The EU Youth Strategy (2010-18) presents two main objectives: to provide more and equal opportunities for young people in education and in the labour market, as well as to encourage young people to be active citizens. In this regard it should be mentioned that the Education is now a top priority for the Georgian government. Nowadays, reforms are implemented in the education system in 49 dimensions. According to GALLUP, 2011, almost 69% of the population support most of the reforms. In spite of the positive steps, focus on education policy is still required, regarding both geographical locations and financial support. For instance, it would be better to give longterm interest-free loans to gifted students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, who could repay their loans after graduation. From the perspective of the YSO Graali, it might be told that the high level of youth unemployment proves the necessity of founding a strong employment service. For the Georgian Youth unresolved conflicts remain a huge obstacle. The political campaigns in the breakaway regions by the de-facto governments contribute to the estrangement of the younger generations. Georgian high schools students close to the breakaway region of Abkhazia founded the youth organization
“Beneath Engury is our Homeland” (ENGURS GAGMA CHVENI SAMSHOBLOA). On 27 September, with the support of the EU monitoring mission as well as the national-democratic party, the youth demonstrated with the motto “Russia is our common enemy”. They sent warm letters to the Abkhazian youth that was followed with linkage of the youth cooperation. Famous Azerbaijani lawyer and philosopher Erkin Gadirli declared that youth problems in Azerbaijan are structural. He outlined the importance of providing the supremacy of law, freedom of media, enterprise, and fair democratic elections. Therefore, problems facing the young are mostly discussed within a broader framework. One of the hot debating issues is higher Education. It’s said that the young are deprived of choice of subjects. There is both the lack of logistical equipment and the absence of the election of rectors by scientific councils. One of the main challenges for the youth is the limited access to high-paid jobs. The young face the chain of the social problems, including an inability to obtain mortgages to buy homes, and because of their dependence on parents younger families do not have social freedom. The lack of an adequate pension system makes obstacle for the future of the younger genera-
tions. In general, it is considered that all social and economic problems run into the problem of politics, which has a systemic character. To strengthen democracy in Armenia, an environment in which the next generation of leaders and activists can participate in democratic decision-making is essential. In the universities, student councils need to be further empowered to fully carry out their responsibility to represent and promote students’ rights. It is also important to promote the understanding of labour and social rights among young people and to rejuvenate the trade union movement. During the meeting on the 9th of April the Armenian President and leader of Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Serzh Sargsyan recalled all the social programs the country has organized for the youth and the initiatives of the Yerevan State University. The president stressed that with its current resources Armenia is not able to solve all the problems of the young but that the government has initiated certain policies aimed at helping the young and that these will continue to operate. In conclusion, it might be said that generally the active support of youth participation in democratic processes, as well as and efficient social system is essential for a sustainable future.
When European policy makers turn their attention to higher education, they would do well to pay attention to what is happening to universities in the United Kingdom. Because for the past decade or so our country has been engaged on a quite radical experiment with higher education: a drive to get 50% of all school-leavers to progress to university or college before getting a job. The justifications for this vary from person to person. For some, it was a matter of aspiration – of allowing many more people to enhance their studies, learn new skills and maximise their potential. For others, it was a class-motivated attempt to break open the elite world of the universities. Still more saw it as a way of building a new economy now that global competition had rendered British manufacturing uncompetitive. Others simply saw it as a cynical attempt to keep school-leavers off the unemployment figures for a few years. This host of competing justifications is symptomatic to why the whole thing has become such a mess: it was started without any clear objectives. It didn’t really get much further than “wouldn’t it be nice if more people went to university?”, really. As a result, overqualification rates in the UK are already high and are still rising. The employment market is flooded with graduates, creating a paradox where on the one hand a degree is essential to get a foot in the door, while on the other hand its value is decaying as ever more graduates emerge with similar qualifications. The number of graduates on the market also means that employers are now using degrees to filter applicants for what used to be school-leavers’ jobs. This means that these jobs are no longer open to people just out of high school and more people are forced to go through university, just to ‘stand still’ in employment terms. While they go through university, these students take on the burden of tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt from student loans and living costs. This is because the state can no longer afford to totally subsidise students as it did when the numbers were tiny. Tuition fees are now a part of higher education and they will only go higher. Perhaps worst of all, having a degree in Britain is now seen as being superior to a vocational or technical qualification, even when something is supposed to be a vocation or technical trade. Perhaps the most striking example is nursing, where the mutation of nurse training from ‘hands-on’ to academic has led to reports that a new breed of nurse unwilling to get their hands dirty. Even areas such as pre-school
childcare are now seeing increasing calls for graduate recruitment, as if a degree is a magical scroll that guarantees good outcomes. Taken together, all this has serious implications for the British economy. As the ideological drive to expand higher education goes on, more and more young people are sucked through the system. The debts they incur, combined with the lost income from three to four years of work they miss out on, means that many of our young people are left financially dependent on their parents well into what used to be considered our adult lives. It has also led to increased disenchantment, as people led to expect the high-earnings and job security of the last generation of graduates find themselves in a world where degrees are common and competition ferocious. It is hard enough to go through university and emerge owing the government tens of thousands of pounds, but when it fails to land you a traditional graduate salary or job prospects the disappointment is fiercer still. It also leads to a greater sense of entitlement amongst the workforce. The UK already has a problem with native workers refusing to apply for menial or low-status jobs, leaving them to be filled by immigrant labour which is then resented by the very people who never applied for their jobs. This is only exacerbated once 50% or more of British workers have some form of degree and the expectation of a job to match. When European countries debate how they are going to modify their higher education
provision to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, Britain should be used as a salutary lesson in how not to do it. As an increasingly globalised economy subjects jobs in the primary and secondary sectors to increasing competition from overseas, it can be tempting to try to see university as a magic wand. Most fallaciously, it is claimed that mass university education is necessary in order to ‘equip students with skills’ for a modern economy. Given that the British model almost totally neglects technical areas, one really has to question quite how many History of Art degrees a modern European nation needs to compete in the global economy. The only way the UK has managed so far is by having the government invent swathes of arcane public sector jobs, with artificially high salaries and extraordinary pensions. This is the reason the UK has such a serious deficit problem: for the last 15 years the government has been borrowing to bridge the gap between the reality of our uncompetitive economy and the shrill entitlements of its people. Now the money has run out, the wheels are coming off. There are many good reasons to invest in education beyond the age of 18, from making sure the nation has enough engineers, to contributing to scientific breakthroughs which advance the limits of knowledge, even to ensure a sufficient number of lawyers, historians, and a poet or two. But take it from someone who lived it: “Wouldn’t it be nice?” is not one of those reasons.
The UK provides a master class Henry Hill, EDS
in how not to reform higher education
uniVersities students are gaining knowledge in the six schools of Aalto University: School of Arts, Design and Architecture; School of Economics; School of Chemical Technology; School of Electrical Engineering; School of Engineering and School of Science. The latter four were formerly known as Helsinki University of Technology and they all are located 10 km from the centre of Helsinki in the campus area called Otaniemi, an area selected twice as one of the most innovative regions in Europe by the EU. The two other schools are still in Helsinki, the city celebrating this year its 200-year-long history as capital, but the development of one main campus is gathering gradually all bachelor-level education to Otaniemi. This should be from 2013 onwards, when also within the bachelor degree programs major structural changes supporting the interdisciplinary and diverse studies are taking place. The famous Finnish designer, architect and Aalto alumni Alvar Aalto is the creator of the Otaniemi street plan, main building, and many other buildings on the Otaniemi Campus. Aalto’s heritage lives strong in Finnish technology, economics and arts and the university named after him symbolise the desired diversity and innovativeness. Aalto University aims to reach the same levels in creativity and openness as the great name of Finnish design, and strives to give birth to new ideas to
support the success of Finland. Students are an important part of the Aalto University and student culture is rich and lively in all three campus areas. The most talented students all around Finland are attracted to study in the Aalto University by high-level education, a great spirit, and high rates of employment. Also for students coming abroad, Aalto University offers a great possibility to experience renowned education and the Finnish culture. Almost 60 different degree programmes in English includes 5 Erasmus Mundus programmes, CEMS and various joint and double degree options. The university promotes a student-centric and enthusiastic environment whereas the Aalto University Student Union is a self-governing community, for example taking care of its member’s interests, providing health-care and housing, and organising a variety of events to take part in. Over 150 associations in the vicinity of the student union, secure the wide range of activities. Students studying in the same program can be recognised by same coloured overalls (mostly used only in student parties), and engineering students from their trademark - a cap adopted from Sweden in late 1800s. As an example of the Aalto Spirit, which strives to connect students from all the former universities, can be mentioned Aalto on Tracks. The studentorganised project took in the summer 2010
around 100 people from Aalto University with a private train from Helsinki to Shanghai World Expo. Also Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, Europe’s largest and most active entrepreneurship society, has been born by students in the environment of Aalto University, to support and create more start-ups and encourage a bolder, more creative and international culture. As Helsinki is the World Design Capital 2012, Aalto University is involved in the venture by high lightening how design thinking can lead to a more human-centric environment and a better future. Mostly through the School of Art and Design, hundred of Aalto University students, lecturers and researchers participate in creating better and more sustainable living environments. Aalto University enjoys independent governance as one of the three foundation-based universities in Finland, and can adjust its organisation and actions more flexibly and efficiently to support its goals than public universities. Striving to be among the best universities in the world by 2020, Aalto University continues to offer and facilitate new ways of collaboration between academic teams, researchers, students and communities, such as Aalto University’s factories. Design Factory, Media Factory and Service Factory are platforms where expertise of different Aalto schools can gather and share their thoughts.
Sofi Weckman, TK Finland
Innovation in its heart
Established in 2010, Aalto University is an internationally unique concept that brings together science and art, business and technology. The university seeks to create innovative thinking by surpassing the traditional boundaries and gathering students together from different fields. Providing top class multi-disciplinary education and research, Aalto University educates the leaders of
our future, and works in tight co-operation with industries and public communities. Founded by merging three leading and highly regarded Finnish universities: Helsinki University of Technology, The Helsinki School of Economics and The University of Art and Design, Aalto University builds on centuries long expertise in the respective fields. Together over 19,000 undergraduate and doctoral
CounCil oF europe
The Council of Europe: Ann-Sofie Pauwelyn, EDS
The Council of Europe, founded by 10 countries in 1949 and now counting 47 member states, wants to “create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.” The Council of Europe wants to achieve this democratic and legal area by outlining plans for different policy areas. As the topic of the EDS Council Meeting in Antwerp is “Knowledge is Power”, it seems to be appropriate to have a look at the activities of the Council of Europe concerning higher education. For the Council of Europe, higher education should be of such quality that students are prepared for the labour market as well as for living as an active citizen in a democratic society. Higher education should develop the personality of the student and should make him able to achieve and maintain an advanced knowledge base in a broad area of academic disciplines. As society is always changing there is a need for a better trained and educated workforce, so that the rising number of
students can get education of the highest quality. The Council of Europe also stresses the need for a stronger education system in the international context and for a knowledge society, based on competitive research results. Furthermore the Council of Europe is a proponent of more social cohesion in socially, culturally and linguistically diverse societies. To achieve all this, the Council of Europe created the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR). This Committee oversees the higher education and research programme of the Council of Europe. It consists of public authorities, higher education institutions and their associations, students’ and other professional associations. In the CDESR they work together to better understand each other’s situation and to find answers to the challenges that arise in the world of higher education. The cooperation between the members of the CDESR results in publications,
guidelines, recommendations and conventions. The Committee is the only pan-European forum where public authorities and academic representatives can work together. It meets once a year in plenary session and can appoint working groups to undertake research on different projects. The key points of the CDERS are policies and instruments for the recognition of qualifications, the European Higher Education Area, Academic Freedom and University Autonomy and Targeted Cooperation Activities. The programmes around these key points must meet the concerns of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and they must also contribute to the main goals of the Council of Europe: democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The programmes must focus on the one hand on the social dimension of education and on the other hand on contents and structures of education that are of relevance for education policy makers. PoliCiES AND iNSTRuMENTS FoR THE RECoGNiTioN oF QuAliFiCATioNS Policies and instruments for the recognition of qualifications is about broadening opportunities for all learners by lifelong learning. To achieve this big parts of the education system and its contents should be rethought. The Council of Europe also focuses on social cohesion because it should be possible for more learners to obtain a higher education qualification. Also they are searching for reasonable ways of recognizing prior education. European Higher Education Area The Council of Europe contributes to the Bologna
Process by working on the recognition of qualifications. The Council is also an active participant in the steering and policy-making mechanisms in the Bologna Follow-Up Group and representatives are often invited in official Bologna seminars. Furthermore the Council gives advice and assistance to the countries that have recently taken part in the Bologna Process. Academic Freedom and University Autonomy The Council of Europe supports academic freedom and the autonomy of universities because only when this is achieved can education promote democratic values. Democratic culture is needed to achieve the Council of Europe’s core objectives, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and therefore the Council sees academic freedom and the autonomy of universities as the cornerstones of Europe’s academic heritage. Targeted Cooperation Activities The activities of the Council of Europe always have clear targets. The areas the Council of Europe is currently focusing on are South East Europe and some countries that used to be part of the Sovjet Union. One of the latest activities took place in Moldova (1-2 December 2011). A seminar on implementation of the European Higher Education Area in the Republic of Moldova was organized by the Free International University of Moldova in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Moldova, the Council of Europe and the Bologna
Secretariat. The participants reviewed the higher education reform in Moldova in order to ensure convergence with the principles of the European Higher Education Area. The Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research works together with other international and regional institutions (e.g. UNESCO, the European Commission, OECD, the Nordic Council of Ministers). It also cooperates with NGOs like EUA and the South East European Educational Cooperation Network. For the future, the Council of Europe is supporting knowledge societies: the CDESR stresses the importance of flexibility and the development of transversal competencies as well as competence in specific subject areas without forgetting the need to spread the core values of democratic and humanitarian societies. Higher education and research play an important role in establishing knowledge societies. “The future development of our societies requires broad access to and investment in higher education, both to allow each individual to develop to the full extent of his or her possibilities and to allow society to make good use of the capacities and talents of all its members”, the Council of Europe concludes..
CounCil oF europe