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European Council

The Council reached a preliminary agreement on Education


Erasmus for All is a proposal for an integrated programme in the areas of education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020. It brings together in a single programme activities previously covered by a number of separate programmes (including the Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus Mundus and Youth in Action) and also includes activities in a new area of European competence, sport.

The Council reached a preliminary agreement on the text in 2012, with the exception of provisions on funding, pending a decision on the multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU´s budget priorities for 2014-2020. The European Council reached that agreement on 7-8 February.

The negotiations between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission will start on 19 February 2013. Since there is significant common ground between the European Parliament´s and the Council´s positions, there are reasonable grounds for optimism that an early agreement can be reached. Achieving such an agreement before the summer would enable the Commission to complete important preparatory work in time for the programme to begin, as proposed, on 1 January 2014.

The 2013 Annual Growth Survey launches the six-month cycle of economic policy coordination in the EU, the "European Semester". A key message of this year´s Annual Growth Survey is that investment in human capital has a vital role to play in fostering a job-rich recovery.

However, the Annual Growth Survey also contains a warning for education ministers: skills gaps, deficiencies and mismatches are holding Europe back from achieving its full potential in job creation, while not enough progress is being made in adapting education and training systems to reflect labour market needs.

Based on a discussion paper from the Presidency, ministers presented the action that their countries are taking in the field of education and training in order to improve skill levels and employability. The 2013 Annual Growth Survey specifically recommends:

  • more investment in education;
  • stepping up efforts to reduce early school-leaving;
  • facilitating the transition from school to work;
  • developing entrepreneurial and employability skills.

Also in the context of the Annual Growth Survey the Council adopted conclusions on investing in education and training as a response to the Commission communication "Rethinking Education".

Member states are in particular invited to:

  • focus vocational education and training on potential growth areas or areas with skills shortages;
  • reduce the number of low-skilled adults through access to adult training and lifelong learning; and
  • optimise ICT-supported learning and access to open educational resources.

Of interest