European Students Support the Protest – EU Delegation Remains Silent Photo by Ivana Dervishi

Yesterday the European Students’ Union expressed its support and solidarity with the Albanian students protesting in their 8th day against government’s reform in higher education.

The European Students’ Union is an international student umbrella organization representing about 20 million students in 39 countries.

Meanwhile, yesterday the EU Delegation in Albania organized a “Debate Marathon on Research and Development in Albania”, precisely on the day when students’ protest was expected to be the biggest since the beginning. So far the EU Delegation in Albania has failed to make any statement on students’ protests or their demands towards government.

The EU Delegations rigidity in supporting the government seems to be on similar tracts on which its former Head Romana Vlahutin led it. The Delegation has kept supporting and pushing for the seemingly illegal forming of new justice system institutions, despite continuous breaches in the process. The Delegation has failed to make any statement regarding citizens’ protests against the demolition of their houses, and clear evidence of corruption in the Outer Ring Road tenders – issues hovering over the troubled Albanian public opinion and society for weeks. The Delegation also kept back from expressing its opinion regarding government’s plan to demolish the National Theater.

ESU’s announced support of students’ protest comes as a reminder of EU institutions’ rigidity and their clinging to stabilitocracy, which in practice means supporting the government despite everything, and not democratic values.

In 2015, ESU made another statement of support against the Higher Education Law in Albania.

Following is the full statement by ESU made on 11 December 2018.

The European Students’ Union stands with Albanian students

Decision No. 288 by the Albanian Council of Ministers has created tremendous dissatisfaction among Albanian students, which have evolved to mass student protests. The decision outlined the double charging of repeated exams. Since the start of the protests on the 5th of December, they have developed to the biggest student protests since 1990. While the government has decided to abolish this measure, students are asking for a higher quality of the higher education system. The demands of the students are as follows:

  1. Halving of tuition fees
  2. Increase the value of student votes for the election of deans and rectors from 10% to 50%
  3. Doubling the budget to be invested in higher education
  4. Implementation of a student card system
  5. Quality student housing accessible for everyone
  6. Providing with adequate research funding to doctorate students
  7. Inclusion of student representatives at all decision-making bodies of higher education institutions

ESU stands with the Albanian students and therefore supports the aims of the ongoing peaceful student protests.

The European Students’ Union is an international student umbrella organisation that functions regardless of political persuasion, religion, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation or social standing. Our members are also student-run, autonomous, representative and operate according to democratic principles. ESU highly values inclusivity and strives for solidarity within the students’ movement, with condemning every violent action.