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The European Union: what future?

The coming months will be very important for the future of the European Union.

The next elections to the European Parliament are scheduled for this year. Five years after the last elections, citizens of the European Union can vote for Members of the European Parliament (MEP). One of the major changes this year will be a reduced number of MEPs. After the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, 705 MEPs will be elected. Simultaneously Poland will receive one additional mandate and thus will elect 52 MEPs.

One of the most important challenges is the exit of the European Union by the United Kingdom and lack of respect for the rule of law in some countries. The European Parliament is working on draft legislation to link the disbursement of European Union funds to compliance with the law in the country concerned. New rules could allow European Union funds to be suspended or even reduced for a country with a problem with the rule of law. The main opponents of this project are Poland and Hungary. The dispute over the rule of law in Poland concerns the retirement age of the judges of the Supreme Court. Another issue is the Middle East conference in Warsaw, organised jointly by Poland and the United States. The conference is reluctantly perceived in the European circles because it is believed that Poland tends towards the position of the United States and not European politics. Despite the fact that all European Union countries will take part in the conference, the head of the European Union diplomacy will be absent.

The issue of diversity in Poland is perceived differently by different social groups. Young people are much more open to diversity, willing to go abroad, take part in international projects or make friends with people from other countries. And thanks to that, despite the differences we create a unity as Europeans.

I would like Europe to be economically strong in 50 years. I hope that the European Union will create equal development opportunities for all member states and that our region will be one of the world’s leading regions in terms of economic development.

Text written in February 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Magda. I come from Poland and I am a volunteer in the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.