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Under the motto "Universities vote for Europe", universities and universities of applied sciences are jointly calling for participation in the European Parliament elections on 9 June 2024. Together, we want to promote participation in the EU elections as a clear message in favour of a common Europe and as an expression of courageous cohesion in a vital EU, thereby also highlighting the importance of the EU as a scientific area.

What added value does the EU bring us?

Studying throughout the EU: The EU guarantees its citizens the right to study in any other EU country under the same conditions that apply to nationals of that Member State. Academic mobility is promoted and supported by the ERASMUS+ programme.

Joint research:  The EU facilitates cross-border cooperation between European researchers and invests in large-scale framework programmes for research and innovation. The EU promotes the global networking of its universities and research institutions. At the same time, it is developing a framework that guarantees the security of research and protects European interests in a global context.

Research funding for climate neutrality: The EU supports research to combat climate change, covering a wide range of topics from new technologies to social cohesion issues. This supports the European Green Deal, which aims for a fair and inclusive transition to a climate-neutral Europe.

Strategy and rules for the digital transformation: The EU is responding to the digital transformation and the rise of artificial intelligence with its own set of rules. The EU has an AI strategy and is currently developing ethical guidelines and regulations to mitigate risks and funding corresponding research and education programmes.

Guaranteed academic freedom: The EU is committed to academic freedom. Academic freedom is inextricably linked to democracy, the rule of law and human rights. These principles are guaranteed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

What we expect from Europe

Develop the EU as an attractive science area: The EU must ensure that international cooperation in education and research remains guaranteed and is further expanded. Europe must remain an attractive location for research and innovation that is open to international students, researchers and teachers while maintaining European standards and values.

Promote research cooperation between regions: In order to achieve synergy effects, investments in high-quality science must be distributed across all regions, including the provision of suitable digital infrastructure.

Introduce university compatibility check: The EU should carry out a prior assessment of legislation that could impact universities and their activities (e.g. in the areas of trade, migration, digital transformation or the rule of law), involving the higher education sector, and ensure that new regulations do not hinder education, research and innovation.

Provide ambitious funding: EU research programmes must be ambitiously funded. National and European research spending should be coordinated to create added value.

Voting as a signal for a common, vital Europe

From 6 to 9 June 2024, more than 370 million EU citizens will be called upon to elect 705 representatives to the EU Parliament. This EU election is the first in which UK citizens will no longer be able to vote due to Brexit. The universities are relieved to note that - contrary to some fears - the centrifugal forces in the European Union have not increased after Brexit. Nevertheless, the example of the UK in particular shows that the dangers of anti-European propaganda should not be underestimated. With this in mind, we consider a high turnout in the EU elections to be an important signal for strengthening the Union and European democracy, as the EU Parliament is the only directly elected institution in the Union.

uniko President Oliver Vitouch: "Democracy does not come for free. It has to be fought for, preserved and nurtured again and again. We cannot be indifferent to an energetic, vital, forward-looking Europe - and the geopolitical developments of the disinformation age make it abundantly clear how important courageous cohesion and the voice of reason are today."

Ulrike Prommer, President of the Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences (FHK): "It is important for us to send a clear message in favour of a united Europe, especially in light of the current geopolitical situation. That's why universities are voting for Europe on 9 June 2024!"

Universities Vote for Europe