EU Minister Jessika Roswall visited JU

There are many activities going on at Jönköping University (JU) ahead of the European elections. On Thursday 30 May, an EU debate was held at JU, and on Friday 31 May, EU Minister Jessika Roswall visited to encourage students to go and vote in the important election on 9 June.

Jessika Roswall (M) is a lawyer by profession and has been Minister for EU and Nordic Affairs since 2022. In connection with a visit to Jönköping, she visited JU to meet students with the call to go and vote in this important election.

“The EU is fundamentally based on peace and freedom. With the EU, we get a platform for cooperation with like-minded countries that believe in democracy, but also freedoms, rights and opportunities for individuals and not least students. That is why it is important that we go and vote on 9 June,” says Jessika Roswall.

Talking to students about the EU and the elections

A group of students had the chance to meet the Minister when she visited JU. The students asked questions about the EU in general and the elections in particular.

How will the EU elections affect us students?
“The EU is a great opportunity with its free movement for students. It is a prerequisite where, for example, students in the UK no longer have this opportunity. We need to invest more in research and development in the EU to be competitive. We have fallen behind the US and Southeast Asia. There are opportunities for your students to do research after your studies.”

How are you working to enable international students to move around Europe?
”I have visited many universities in Sweden that have a good exchange programme. You at JU are an example of that. But we should be better at validating courses within the EU to make it easier to move around.”

How is Sweden working to keep snus in the EU?
”We got an exemption when we joined the EU to keep our snus. Sweden doesn't think it's an EU issue but something we should be allowed to decide ourselves. The EU should not interfere in matters of detail. There is a discussion about white snus, but I think the important thing is that we get to keep our exemption and keep tobacco consumption down in Europe.”

How can the other countries be as good as the Nordic countries in the green movement*?
“EU President Ursula von der Leyen has made it clear that EU countries need to step up their ambitions. We have a good vision for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Although some countries are lagging behind the Nordic countries, they are making great efforts to catch up. There are movements in the EU that are opposed to the green movement because it would mean losing competitiveness. I think the opposite. We will lead the green movement and be profitable.”

How can we get the younger target group involved in the EU?
“Election campaigns are important to start conversations about our common future. Political parties and the media need to do more for young people. Teachers also have a very important role in engaging young people. We have been in the EU for thirty years, but we still talk about ‘us and them’. This is not really the case in southern Europe.”

What are the most important issues for Sweden to pursue in the future?
“The Ukrainian war is now, but also in the future, the most important task for the EU. The competitiveness of the EU is another important issue along with the green transition. For Sweden, the criminalization of society is also an important issue.”

EU co-operation important for JU

In connection with the visit, the Minister also had the chance to talk to the election workers who work in the polling station located at the School of Education and Communication at JU, where about 750 people have voted during the week.

The visit ended with the Minister and the students meeting Måns Svensson, JU's President, who encouraged the students to spend some of their studies abroad.

“As JU is a European University, EU co-operation is of great importance to us. JU is an international university with 2,000 international students and 120 nationalities. The EU's freedom of movement is a great advantage, and we will put more focus on applying for international research funding. One challenge for us is to make students realise the importance of doing a period of their studies abroad. This gives them the chance to learn more about cultures, languages and make friends from other countries, which benefits not only the individual student, but also society at large,” says Måns Svensson.

“It's important to get out and meet students before the elections, many of whom are first-time voters. I want to encourage as many as possible to go to the polls on 9 June,” Jessika Rosvall concludes her visit to JU.

*The Green Movement is a diverse scientific, social, conservation and political movement that broadly addresses environmental concerns. It encompasses a range of political parties, organizations and individual advocates operating at international, national and local levels.