SAMOK is a national, politically independent organisation for students at universities of applied sciences (UAS). The organisation is led by students and works to promot students’ interests. SAMOK also offers services to our member student unions and ensures that the students’ voices are heard by the state administration and other relevant stakeholders. We also arrange for services and discounts for students. A total of approximately 59 000 students are members of the student unions that are members of SAMOK, however, SAMOK speaks for close to 140 000 UAS students all in all.
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SAMOK and SYL ask for more reason and openness in EU politics
Published: 20-May-2014 10:21 am
Publisher: Suomen opiskelijakuntien liitto - SAMOK ry
The last sprint in the European Elections race is here. This autumn, we will have a very different set of members of the EU parliament from Finland. Many election debates have featured critique against the EU, as well as misconceptions about the parliament’s powers. Education policy is, and is to remain, within national jurisdiction. Finland would not fare well alone in matters such as fighting global warming or ensuring human rights. The positive aspects of the EU are often overshadowed by the negative. Critique is of course allowed, but it should be constructive. The national unions of higher education students in Finland, SAMOK and SYL, demand more open decision-making and a reasonable, fact-based EU debate.
The European Union has brought us uniform legislation, assisting trade and the possibility for free movement. Instead of a focus on these, media often tend to focus on what they say “EU prohibits...”. When the news-worthiness of EU news is marginalised, it also increases the distance to the decision-making process in Brussels. The decision-making in the European Parliament should be more open. We demand our Finnish MEPs to prioritise such a reform. It must be possible to have real insight in the decision-making of Parliament.
“It is not acceptable to medievally still vote by voting by raising your hand in the European Parliament. Non-transparent preparatory work and hard-to-follow referendums decrease trust in the European Union,” criticises Vice President Jari Järvenpää from SYL.
When MEPs prepare reports on proposals for new legislation, they are free to hear any representatives, with no demands to disclose who has been heard. MEPs can also, if they so wish, subjectively hear only certain lobbyists. We, students, demand a stop to this kind of secretive preparatory work. We want to see public lists of the lobby and advocacy organisations heard by the rapporteurs. The committees at the European Parliament could follow the example of Parliament in Finland, where there are formal lists of all experts and organisations heard by the committees. Such open procedures would increase citizens’ confidence in EU decision-making.
“Now, before the elections, we all have an excellent opportunity to demand that MEP candidates commit to make decision-making more open. We would also like to see more positive news about the EU. Things are not just decided in Brussels and served us. Both preparation work and decisions are made on a national level, SAMOK executive committee member Anniina Sippola point out.
SAMOK and SYL campaign for the European Elections is called “Listen, EU! – A Europe for Students”. The campaign is social media based on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Executive committee member Anniina Sippola (SAMOK), tel. +358 50 389 1004, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Jari Järvenpää (SYL), tel. +358 44 906 5005, email@example.com