University students identify combating climate change, external relations and stimulation of economies as key issues for the EU’s future

11.06.2021. 11:50

From 3 to 10 June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with Latvia’s higher education institutions organised a series of online discussions for students, titled “The Future is in Your Hands”. They were aimed at promoting student engagement in the sharing of ideas and opinions on economic, social and security issues that are related to Europe’s future. The discussions were moderated by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

After the completion of the series of discussions, the Parliamentary Secretary spoke with appreciation on how representatives from Latvia’s higher education institutions have been showing genuine interest in offering their perspectives so that the EU can better respond to future challenges.

In three discussion sessions, students of higher education institutions offered their proposals on how to move ahead on reaching the objectives connected with climate neutrality, and on harnessing the opportunities offered by digitalisation, while reducing risks related to data security. The EU’s response to the pandemic was also evaluated and ways to ensure quality education and health care services in all Member States, and challenges were discussed in relation to the interpretation of the rule of law in Member States. During the final discussion, the students exchanged opinions on what the EU and NATO cooperation should be in the future, as well as discussing the EU’s role in fighting hybrid threats, for instance, disinformation and cyber-attacks.

As key issues to be addressed at EU level, the young participants identified the following: mitigating climate change; the EU’s external relations, including security policy; human rights; and support for economies and job creation. From their perspective, special attention should be paid to digitalisation, democracy, public health, and bridging of gaps that can emerge in societies.

Opinions expressed during discussions will be compiled and posted on the digital platform of the Conference of the Future of Europe so that anyone in Europe could learn about the vision of Latvia’s young people on the future development of Europe. Our aim is to see that Latvia’s voice is heard and its interests considered in the broader consultations taking place with European citizens, the Parliamentary Secretary underlined.

Participating in the series of discussions were students from the University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Riga Stradiņš University, Daugavpils University, Liepāja University, the Latvian Academy of Art, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Riga Graduate School of Law, RISEBA University of Applied Sciences, Turība University, and EKA University of Applied Sciences.

The aim of the Conference on the Future of Europe is to increase the role of people in shaping the EU’s future policy and enhancing its resilience in the process. By spring of 2022, the Conference is expected to reach conclusions and provide guidance on the future of Europe. Already now, any resident of Europe can visit the Conference’s multilingual digital platform and learn about events underway across Europe, get involved and share their ideas.

For further information on the Conference on the Future of Europe, see link.


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