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Blog: The European Parliament elections are student elections

The elections are not ending here, because the European Parliament elections are coming next! The European Parliament elections historically have not received much attention or gathered widespread interest in Finland, especially among students, but now there is a perfect opportunity to change that direction. EU-elections are also student elections! We can thank the European Union for, among many other things, better freedom of movement, the freedom to study in all member states of the union, and the Erasmus+ program, through which many students have had great experiences with exchange studies. On the other hand, the upcoming European Parliament elections will also decide the future direction of the entire union, such as whether the future parliament will invest in education, learning, and the union's collective security.

The European Parliament has significant importance for both internationalization at home and for enabling studying and exchange periods abroad. A good example of this is Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE), which the University of Eastern Finland is part of. The European Union is the main funder of YUFE, and the decision to start operations was made in the European Commission. The fundamental values that enable internationalization opportunities – freedom of speech, free movement, and the principle of the rule of law – require defenders, as there have been political developments contrary to these values in multiple member states of the European Union, such as, in Hungary, the Netherlands, and Germany. In the long run, such developments will affect students' opportunities to move and reside in the European Economic Area, complete studies at European universities, and express their opinions and practice science.

The union also has a major opportunity to tackle the students mental health crisis, if the future parliament has active members speaking for actions that would support the implementation of the comprehensive mental health strategy published by the European Commission. The mental health crisis is a massive challenge both domestically and across the European Union. In Finland, one in three students experiences depression and anxiety issues, and 46% of all union citizens have suffered from mental health problems in the past year. The mental health strategy outlines, among other things, a European mental health code, improved training for mental health professionals, and a union-wide initiative on psychosocial risks. It is great that these issues are included in the union's strategy, but we at the Student Union want to see them concretely realized – and that is why voting in these elections is really important.

Remember to vote! Advance voting in Finland takes place from 29th of May to 4th of June, with the main election day being on Sunday 9th of June. On the Joensuu campus, you can vote in the lobby of Carelia, and in the Kuopio campus at Studentia. If you haven't found your candidate yet, try the linked election compasses below.

Polling stations and opening hours:

Tulospalvelu.vaalit.fi, opens in a new tab: Joensuu Polling Stations

Tulospalvelu.vaalit.fi, opens in a new tab: Kuopio Polling Stations

Sites to help you choose your candidate:

Vaalit.yle.fi, opens in a new tab: Yle's Election Compass (available only in Finnish)

Nuorisoala.fi, opens in a new tab: Allianssi's Youth Election Compass (available also in English)

Hs.fi, opens in a new tab: Helsingin Sanomat Elections Compass (available only in Finnish)

Further Information: 

Ruska Itkonen, Member of the Executive Board, academic affairs, Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), ruska.itkonen(at)isyy.fi, tel. +358 44 576 8427

Jasmin Tuomi, Member of the Executive Board, social policy, Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), jasmin.tuomi(at)isyy.fi, tel. +358 44 576 8408