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European Students' Union - From WESIB to ESU, 1982-today

Today the European Students’ Union (ESU) is an umbrella organisation of 45 national unions of students from 40 European countries, but at first, it was called WESIB and had the sole focus on sharing information.

European Students' Union - From WESIB to ESU, 1982-today

ESU was founded in 1982 by seven national unions of students (NSU Norway, NUS-UK, SFS Sweden, SHÍ Iceland, UNEF-ID France, DSF Denmark and ÖH Austria) and back then was called WESIB, the West European Student Information Bureau. The political changes in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s affected WESIB as well, as it opened up itself to national unions of students from the former east.

In February 1990, WESIB dropped the “W” to become the European Student Information Bureau (ESIB). As the European Communities started to gain more influence on higher education in Europe and certainly with the start of the Bologna Process, the objective from just an information sharing organisation changed into to a political organisation that represents the views and interests of students.

In May 2007 it was decided that ESIB needed to change its name as the ESIB acronym no longer represented the work of the organization and ESIB changed its name into the European Students’ Union (ESU).

At an extraordinary Board Meeting held in Florence, Italy, from 28 to 30 September 2014, it was decided to dissolve formally the organisation ESIB Austria.

On the 27th of December, the Belgian official registry (Moniteur Belge) announced the merger of ESIB – The National Union of Students in Europe and ESU – The European Students Union. Since then the two organisations are one legal entity which carries the name and abbreviation “The European Students Union- ESU”.

The last steps of the merger took place at the Extraordinary Board meetings in Cardiff October 2017 and at the regular Board meetings in Jerusalem in December 2017. On the 12th of December 10:00 the official rapporteur of both organisations, Caroline Sundberg got the notary’s declaration.

ESIB’s and ESU’s structures

The organisation operated on several levels before they were integrated gradually in one main Executive Committee, following exhaustive organisational reforms that were carried out in conjunction with the formation of the new European Students’ Union (ESU).

It is due to the generous contribution of student representatives to ESU’s work that the organisation became a major participant in policymaking processes in higher education in Europe. When ESU was still called WESIB and ESIB, the organisation was lead early on by National Unions of Students and later on by Directors together with Executive Committees until the formation of ESU in 2007. Since 2007 ESU has been led by a Presidency (President + 2 Vice Presidents) together with an Executive Committee as well as Coordinators. Mandates last a year, regularly starting in July and ending in June the following year.

Communication team profile image Communication team
The Communication team curates Global Student Forums' digital content and prepares publications. It is a small, dedicated team from around the world.