Tip of the iceberg? The importance of accountability during armed conflicts in light of the attacks on WCK aid workers

by Lisa Zadrozny Stausholm


This Thursday at the STAM debate panel coorganized with Stand Up For Europe, Marta Barandiy said something that resonated with me in light of this week’s deadly attack in Gaza on World Central Kitchen (WCK) humanitarian workers. She urged : “it is crucial that we do not take for granted our human rights, that we protect them and promote our European values all across the world. The same way young European citizens don’t remember a life without Europe, our future children may not remember a life where human rights are respected.” A violent reminder that societies can very quickly slide into inequality, injustice and abuse of power, undermining the dignity and well-being of all, echoed loudly with the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen Aid Workers and the rise of Gaza civilian casualties. It is crucial that these attacks now act as an electrochoc that puts an end to the worldwide climate of lack of accountability that has been settling in for a couple of decades. Acknowledging and safeguarding human rights starts by holding accountable institutions, armies and countries who violate them.

Saudi Arabia chosen to hold the presidency of the CSW, the UN commission for Women’s Rights.

By Miguel Suárez 


The United Nations (UN) has long been regarded as a beacon of hope for advancing gender equality and women's rights worldwide. One of the organizations surveilling concretely the matter of Women’s rights around the world is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is part of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, one of the most important organisms within the UN. 

The CSW, apart from their daily activities, organizes an annual forum in which they negotiate and publish a report on the development of gender equality in the world. The controversy arose when Saudi Arabia was chosen as the rotatory president of the Commission and as the host country for the forum 2025.

Apart from the several NGOs and international organizations that have questioned the decision during this week, a great wave of critics has emerged from the civil society, especially on social media. These critics are sustained on the continuous reports of violations both of the Human Rights and the Rights of the Women in the country. Along this article, the current situation of the Rights in the country and the possible reasons behind this decision by the Committee will be explored and discussed, in order to unveil the ethical and moral implications of this decision.

Binding the Youth Vote: Belgium's Mandatory Shift in EU Election Participation

By Katarina Stanojevic

Belgium, as a Member State of the EU, has also been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the voting age and electoral participation. In 2022, Belgium enacted a law that expanded voting rights to include Belgian citizens and other EU nationals residing in Belgium, aged between 16 and 18, in European elections (Mańko, 2023). This legislative change marked a significant departure from the previous voting age requirement and aimed to empower younger citizens to participate in the democratic process. Currently, the Court has suspended a provision in the law (see ruling nr. 35/2024), which makes voting mandatory solely for adults and not for 16- and 17-year-olds. This ruling means that voting will now be compulsory for individuals aged 16 and 17, with the possibility of sanctions for non-compliance. However, the implementation of this law has faced legal challenges and ongoing debates regarding mandatory voting and associated sanctions.


The 2024 Russian Presidential "Election": A Gangster's Seizure of Power

Vladimir Putin submitting documents to Central Election Commission in December 2023. Photo: Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation


By Mariia Orudzhova

The three-day electoral exercise – [the 2024 Russian presidential ‘election’, that was held from 15 to 17 March] - is over. And this article will cover why it was illigimate from the very beginning to the very end.

Let's remember about the legal framework of what was going on in Russia in 2020 - the constitutional changes were taking place. The constitution of the Russian Federation was changed - the word 'consecutive' in: limit to 2 consecutive terms’, - was destroyed. The amendment allowed Putin to run for the presidency in 2024 again by nullifying his terms. Preservation of power is the main purpose and raison d'être of any autocracy.


Green Claims Directive: Battling Greenwashing for a Sustainable Future

by Lisa Zadrozny Stausholm

During this Tuesday’s plenary session, 12th March 2024, the Green Claims Directive (GCD) proposed by the Commission in March of 2023 passed. This initiative echoes the objectives of the European Green Deal looking to transform Europe into a circular economy, which means managing resources efficiently, conserving energy and reducing waste, thus benefiting both the economy and the environment. In practical terms, this deal legally requires all EU Member States to reduce Europe’s emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030.

But what is the GDC and why is it needed? How does it hold companies engaging in greenwashing accountable? And how will small businesses be impacted?


The EU construction of corruption deconstruction: Anti-Money laundering authority (AMLA)

By Katarina Stanojevic


The proposal made on July 20, 2021 by the European Commission to establish the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) marks a crucial stride in addressing the escalating threats of money laundering and terrorism financing in Europe. This initiative is a top priority for the European Union (EU) in combating organized and serious international crime. AMLA is a pivotal component of the comprehensive action plan introduced in 2020 to curb these criminal activities



Challenges and Demands: Understanding the Farmers' Protests Shaping Europe's Agricultural Landscape

By Miguel Suárez

As almost every EU citizen knows already, European farmers have stood up against the situation of injustice they live in, as a result of some decisions taken by the European Institutions. Protests have been taking place on the continent since at least 2019; however, since February 1st 2024, they have intensified notably, especially in Brussels, where the headquarters of most of the government apparatuses of the Union are concentrated. But it is worth mentioning that they are taking place in practically all countries of the old continent.

This week has seen a new episode of protests in the Belgian capital, as a consequence of the summit of EU agriculture ministers that took place on Monday, February 26th, and based on its result, it does not look like they are going to be the last ones.

We will try to address this broad topic in the best way possible, but let’s take this from the beginning: What are the demands of the farmers? What injustices are we talking about? How long will this wave of protests last? Is there any satisfactory solution in the short term? These questions, and some others that will emerge, will be the ones we will try to answer in this article.


A Push towards the 2024 European Parliamentary Elections

Stay tuned here and on our social media as we kick off the "Make Your Vote!" project, as part of the European Commission's CERV Programme

Credits: Michael Swan via Creative Commons

Stand Up for Europe is a movement of citizens reclaiming their hope for a better future, something only a united Europe can provide. Stand Up for Europe unites citizens from across the continent who are ready to build such a future through a more democratic and federal Europe, a Europe more in touch with the needs of its people, and thus a Europe that is better equipped to tackle global challenges.


With the occasion of the Conference on the Future of Europe (2021-2022), Stand Up for Europe has been active in creating information flows between citizens and European civil servants, civil society organizations, the EU institutions, and has supported and coordinated the creation of spaces (online and in-person) for citizens to voice their opinions and share their ideas about this European project. The Conference on the Future of Europe is an unprecedented occasion to increase deliberative democracy in the EU. 

Join us to discover ways to actively participate in citizens' activities and stay up to date with the latest developments at our shared European transnational spaces. The future is yours! 


EU’s Response: 2-Year Retrospective on the Full-Scale Russian War Against Ukraine

By Mariia Orudzhova


3,655 days,

near 500 000 of total war victims (The New York Times, 2023),

more than 6 300 000 Ukrainian refugees recorded globally (UN Refugee Agency, 2024)


Since 2014, Ukrainians have been courageously defending their borders against Russian aggression for a decade. The illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by Russian troops on March 18th, 2014, marked a turning point, followed by the outbreak of war in the Donbas region of Ukraine in April 2014, leading to devastating consequences for the Ukrainian people.

As Ukraine enters the 3rd  year of full-scale war in 2024, the forms of resistance have changed. But the desire of Ukrainians to live in a free and sovereign country continues to strengthen with each passing day, underscoring their commitment to defending democracy, human dignity, and human rights.

The European Union (EU) has emerged as a key ally in Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression. Recognizing the importance of the fundamental values as democracy and human rights, the EU has played a pivotal role in supporting Ukraine through a multifaceted approach. The EU acknowledges and respects the unwavering determination of Ukrainians in their struggle for these shared values and the preservation of their territorial independence. This encompasses with financial assistance, targeted sanctions against Russia, provision of humanitarian aid, military support, and expressions of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.


The EU Digital Service Act and Digital Market Act

By Lisa Zadrozny Stausholm

This Saturday February 17th 2024, the Digital Services Act (DSA) package will become fully applicable to all digital services entities spanning from basic websites to internet infrastructure and online platforms. Although the DSA and the Digital Market Act (DMA) were both adopted by the European Parliament in July 2022 and the package became effective on August 25, 2023, it applied solely to large platforms and search engines. One key aspect of the DSA is its differentiation between very large platforms and smaller intermediaries. This innovative legal framework marks a significant milestone in the regulation of online platforms, more so now that digital services have a massive economical, social and ideological societal impact and that a minimal digital presence is a necessity in order to navigate our society. Therefore, this regulation is essential to provide all European citizens with a harmonised and sustainable regulation that values a transparent and safe digital market and society that protects democratic values and their right to confidentiality all across Europe.


L'UE Lance un Fonds de Soutien à la Défense de 175 Millions d'euros

By Jean Marsia

La Commission européenne et le Fonds européen d'investissement (FEI) ont uni, le 12 janvier, leurs forces pour renforcer leur soutien à la défense et à la sécurité de l'UE par le lancement du mécanisme de fonds propres dans le domaine de la défense.


 The 2024 European Parliament Elections, an Important Step to the European Federation?

By Jean Marsia

The hope of lasting peace that raised by the implosion of the Soviet Union was short-lived. Putin’s declaration of war on the West in Munich in 2007, the invasion of Georgia he ordered in 2008, followed by
the invasion of Crimea
and part of the Donbass in 2014, have shattered our illusions but were not enough to shake the Atlantic and European institutions as well as our heads of state and government out of their torpor. They are just as incapable of dealing with the threats of today as others were in the 1910s, 1930s and 1990s. They were unable to prevent the two world wars or the implosion of the former Yugoslavia. Again, we are moving helplessly towards a new catastrophe.


From Rivalry to Unity: The Schuman Declaration's Enduring Legacy in Shaping a United Europe

By Mariia Orudzhova

The Schuman Declaration was written by French foreign minister Robert Schuman and presented on 9 May 1950 (Blair, 2014). Western European nations sought avenues for closer integration and collaboration in this tumultuous era; the Schuman Declaration emerged as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for transformative change. It must be situated in the aftermath of the widespread destruction of two world wars and in the context of a budding Cold War increasingly dividing Western and Eastern Europe (Cox, 2016). In this environment, Western European countries were keen to develop closer integration and co-operation (Hay & Menon, 2007). In particular, France and Germany, as the hardest-hit countries, were looking to end their "age-old rivalry" (Greenwood, 1996). The Schuman Declaration stated, "Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan". In this vein, the Schuman Declaration proposed that "Franco-German production of coal and steel be placed under a common 'high authority'" that was also open to other countries joining as the "first concrete foundation for a European Federation which is so indispensable to the preservation of peace" (Schuman, 2011).


Alarm in the European Council! Could Orbán gain power in the EU?

By Miguel Suarez

In an unexpected turn of events, Charles Michel, the former Belgian prime minister and current president of the European Council, announced his intention to run as the head of his party - the Belgian Reformist Movement - for the upcoming European Parliament elections taking place in June 2024. Despite his position as president of the EU Council, he has stated that he will take his chair as MEP if elected, leaving a vacancy in the presidency of this key European Organism.


Policy Analysis: E.U.'s Green Deal

By Mariia Orudzhova

Climate change and environmental degradation pose significant threats not only to Europe but also to the global community. To combat these challenges, the European Union (E.U.) formulated the European Green Deal (EGD), a transformative strategy to reshape the E.U. into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. Introduced in December 2019, this pivotal policy outlines a roadmap for member nations to achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050, effectively redefining Europe's economic and environmental landscape.


Why are Women Underrepresented in Parliaments and Senates?


By Miguel Suarez


It is no surprise for anybody to say that women are usually underrepresented in the majority of the national legislative assemblies, such as parliaments, all around the world. At the moment, from the data recorded women represent a 26.7% (IPU, 2023) of the seats of the world legislative chambers this should indeed be surprising, given that, according to the World Bank Database, they constitute a 49,7% of the world population (2020). 


10 years of Croatia in the European Union


By Mario Vega

Croatia celebrates 10 years in the EU, a decade in which the country achieved several milestones. While facing some challenges, it tackled territorial disputes and completed strategic projects. However, asylum complexities show a worrying lack of rule of law, and border disputes are believed to persist. Balancing relations with neighbours and addressing their EU candidacy challenges remains crucial for Croatia's foreign policy in this new phase after 10 years in the club.


The Transylvanian Question: overcoming political tensions in intercultural spaces


By Sebastian Berchesan


Throughout the ages, the desire for territorial dominance and the use of natural resources created many conflicts between peoples and ethnic groups. Numerous wars, bloody revolts and hatred feelings erupted between the oppressors and the oppressed. In this context, peaceful coexistence and cooperation between different nations seems to be difficult to achieve but, as history proved it, and as the remarkable European politician Robert Schuman phrased it: “We increasingly and clearly acknowledge the existence of a common good, superior to national interest. A common good into which our countries’ individual interests are merged.” (Krijtenburg, 2020)


The evolution of democracy: challenges and diverse concepts in human history


By Mariia Orudzhova


The history of humanity demonstrates that democracy has intensive development, and nations adjust to emerging trends. If some changes associated with the formation of information societies contribute to democracy, the growing economic, social, and cultural differentiation erects new barriers to democratic regimes, testing their strength. It turns out that democracy creates conditions under which people can establish a decent life, elect their own government, and exercise control over its activities (Sartori, 2000).



Les limites géostratégiques de l'UE mises en lumière par les derniers évènements


By Laura Nolasco Espino


DISCLAIMER: all opinions in this article reflect the views of the author, not the position of STAND UP FOR EUROPE.


Au moins, l'Europe n'a pas à subir la fameuse plaisanterie de Henry Kissinger (ancien secrétaire d'État américain) lorsqu'il a déclaré qu'il ne savait pas qui appeler lorsqu'il voulait appeler l'Europe. De toutes façons, personne n’appelle.  


Ces derniers temps, nous avons vu l'Europe passer du statut d'acteur international pertinent et utile à la transformation du monde, à celui d'ONG bien intentionnée ; dont les actions humanitaires sont bienvenues, mais dont tout le reste est relégué à l'arrière-plan.