Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies. Towards a vision of a European Education Area (EEA)
The Commission presented a package including:
- an overarching Communication on 'Building a Stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies' which outlines how the Commission is taking forward the Gothenburg agenda and the European Council's mandate;
- a Youth Strategy for the period 2019–2027 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;
- a 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.
As part of the initiatives announced, work continues on other aspects of developing the European Education Area by 2025. The overarching 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 it by 2021 as a visible symbol of European student identity.
The Communication also highlights the work being carried out with Member States and the education sector to develop European Universities. These European Universities consisting of bottom-up networks of existing universities will boost cross-border cooperation through long-term institutional strategies. They will promote innovation and excellence, increase mobility for students and teachers and facilitate language learning. This should also help to make European higher education 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.
Other actions to support a lifelong learning and innovation-driven approach to education and training will also be developed. The Commission will for instance propose to support the establishment of Vocational Education and Training Centres of Excellence which would promote an active role for vocational education and training in local and regional economic development.