Today High Representative Federica Mogherini met with alumni of the Erasmus + programme, the EU exchange programme for students from around the world, to discuss the priorities for the EU's Global Strategy for foreign and security policy.Mogherini - an Erasmus alumna herself - explained the new Strategy will focus on "human security" in times of great uncertainty and change: it will address traditional security issues but also development, human mobility, climate change and human rights.
"This is not 'my' Strategy - it is for the whole of Europe," the High Representative told a group of over thirty youngsters who gathered in Brussels from all parts of the Union and the world. "You have a unique experience that allows you to see Europe as a whole, from inside and outside. Today is an opportunity for me to listen and ask questions about where you would like to see the European Union going." Students stressed the important role the European Union plays in securing global peace and prosperity, by strengthening multilateral and bilateral partnerships and standing up for human rights, democracy and rule of law around the world. The discussion touched upon a broad range of issues, from the Union's relations with the United States, to enlargement and the refugee crisis.
On migration, Mogherini commented that we live times of unprecedented human mobility worldwide: "This is the new normal, and people like you understand it very well. If you try to stop water by building a wall, water will find another way. We need to find new solutions, European solutions."
High Representative Mogherini also highlighted the crucial role of young people like the Erasmus generation in building a foundation for mutual trust and cooperation in times of crisis. "The European Union is above all about people coming together. You play a crucial role in building a Europe that is open to the world."
The exchange of views with Mogherini was part of a two day event during which young people from around the world discussed pressing issues in foreign policy such as security and defence and climate change. The Alumni of the Erasmus+ programme are a unique sounding board as they are able to combine their experience of having studied and lived in the European Union with views of EU foreign policy from their countries of origin which are as varied as Colombia, Ukraine and Pakistan to name just a few.