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Printed: 21.09.2019.

PrintMobility and education progress in modern EU

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 23.07.2018.
New Commission’s initiatives aim at enhancing learning mobility and educational opportunities in the EU states, as well as empowering and encouraging young people to participate in civic and democratic life in their countries. These initiatives are expected to harness the potential of culture for social progress and economic growth in Europe.


At the end of 2016, the EU leaders adopted actions to support youth activity: they committed to creating better opportunities for young people in the Member states’ efforts called “Youth Initiative”. With this in mind, the Commission is now proposing to update this strategy (in the form of a second initiative) to ensure that young people can play active part in building European future.

On Communication “Investing in Europe’s youth” see here.

On Youth initiative see Commission press release is here


Europe’s identity through education

Heads of State and Government discussed education, training and culture at the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017 guided by the Commission's Communication “Strengthening European identity through education and culture”, setting out the vision of a European Education Area and announcing a New Agenda for Culture.

Communication’s 14 pages see.

This resulted in the European Council conclusions (December 2017) calling on the EU member states to take appropriate measures. The European Council also highlighted the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage as an opportunity to increase awareness of the social and economic importance of culture and heritage.

Council’s conclusions see.


EU officials’ opinion

More attention needs to be devoted to education, training, youth and culture at the EU level to enable young people to reach their full potential. Investing in skills, competences and knowledge drives innovation, competitiveness and resilience. The new initiatives will help young people of all backgrounds get more promising prospects and help them take a more active role in society.


Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen underlined that additional steps were needed to reinforce youth policies, culture and education in the member states. Following Gothenburg-2017 Social Summit and the December 2017 European Council, the Commission presented a first set of initiatives addressing key competences for lifelong learning, digital skills as well as fostering common values and inclusive education.

Present Commission’s second set of initiatives goes further on and focusing on youth learning mobility, early childhood education, learning of foreign languages, etc. as important building blocks for the future of Europe.

Commissioner for education and culture, Tibor Navracsics, stressed that education, culture and youth policy have a central role in building a resilient, competitive and cohesive societies in the EU member states. Along with the first package adopted in January 2017, the new proposals are aimed at member states to achieve a set of ambitious goals described in Commission’s communications. These actions will help to pave the way towards the European Education Area while strengthening a European identity and empowering all people, especially the young ones, he added.


New proposals’ actions

The new Commission’s package includes the following actions:

  • a Communication on 'Building a Stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies' which outlines how the Commission is delivering on the Gothenburg agenda (September 2018) and the European Council's mandate;
  • a Youth Strategy for the period 2019–27 to empower Europe's youth and give them a stronger voice in EU policymaking, reflecting the importance the Commission attaches to investing in young people and their future;
  • proposals for Council Recommendations on High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care Systems to lay the foundations for later success in life; on the Automatic Mutual Recognition of Diplomas and Learning Periods Abroad to facilitate learning mobility in Europe; and on improving the Teaching and Learning of Languages to ensure that more young people become proficient in foreign languages.
  • New Agenda for Culture to raise awareness of Europe's shared, diverse heritage. It aims to use the full potential of culture in building a more inclusive and fairer Union, supporting innovation, creativity, sustainable jobs and growth and in reinforcing the external relations of the EU.


The EU Universities and student cards

The new initiatives are regarded as important steps to continue developing the European Education Area by 2025; thus the Commission communication on 'Building a Stronger Europe' outlines plans for a European Student Card which is designed to boost learning mobility by reducing administrative burdens and costs for students and education and training institutions. The Commission plans to implement “the card” by 2021 as a visible symbol of European student identity.

At the same time, the Communication also highlights the necessity of developing in the member states within the national education sectors so-called European Universities”, which would be based on existing universities but with the “bottom-up networks” to boost cross-border cooperation through long-term institutional strategies. Such universities will promote innovation and excellence, increase mobility for students and teachers and facilitate language learning. This should also help to make European states higher education systems more competitive. The Commission aims to launch pilots in 2019 and 2020 under the Erasmus+ programme before the full roll-out of the initiative in 2021.


European Education Area

Other actions to support lifelong learning and innovation-driven approach to education and training in the member states will also be developed. The Commission will propose, for example, to support the establishment of Vocational Education and Training Centers of Excellence which would promote an active role for vocational education and training in local and regional economic development.

Initial Eurobarometer survey results in revealing Europeans' views on key initiatives designed to build a European Education Area. It shows that more than nine in ten respondents in the EU states think it would be useful to give students the chance to work with people from other countries on innovative projects, within networks of European Universities. It also shows that 84% of the young people surveyed would like to improve their command of a language they have already learned, and that 77% would like to learn a new language.

More on the Eurobarometer’s survey see here.


Additional information on the issue the following web-sites: Questions and Answers; Education (including factsheet)Culture (including factsheet)Youth (including factsheet)Eurobarometer on the European Education Area.

General reference here.