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Action plan for mobility
The key objective of this resolution is to define a European strategy to foster the mobility of young people, students, teachers and training and research staff within the Union, with a view to constructing a genuine European area of knowledge.
Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 14 December 2000, concerning an action plan for mobility, [Official Journal C 371 of 23.12.2000].
The construction of a genuine European area of knowledge is a priority for the Community both for cultural and economic reasons. The mobility of citizens, notably as regards education and training, encourages the sharing of cultures and promotes the concept of European citizenship as well as that of a political Europe. Besides, in an internationalised economy, the ability to educate oneself and work in a multilingual environment is essential to the competitiveness of the European economy.
The Community's Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes represent appreciable progress, which must however be taken further via the joint efforts of the Community and the Member States. These efforts should lead to an increase in the number of people choosing mobility and remove the remaining obstacles.
Three major objectives:
The plan has three major objectives:
- define and democratise mobility in Europe;
- promote appropriate forms of funding;
- increase mobility and improve the conditions for it.
The Resolution is conceived as a "toolbox" of 42 measures divided into four chapters designed to identify and deal with the remaining obstacles to mobility. The measures are classified under specific objectives within each chapter.
Measures relating to the general objective
These consist of two measures to support the general objective of adopting a European mobility strategy:
- establish a common definition of the concept of mobility and the target groups concerned: age, circuit, geographical scope, length of stay;
- democratise access to mobility measures.
Chapter I: Promote mobility through measures in the field of training and information
Train "human resources" for mobility:
- prepare those involved in implementing mobility: teachers, the administrative staff concerned, etc. (the "mobility organisers");
- develop exchanges and mobility between the mobility organisers;
- encourage educational establishments to devote more resources to mobility.
Promote training in the relevant foreign language and culture, before and during the mobility periods;
- give language teachers the opportunity to go on long-term training placements abroad;
- ensure exchange of good language teaching practice;
- adopt common indicators to evaluate the language skills of trainees;
- make a commitment on the quality of language teaching following up the Council Resolution of 31 March 1995 on improving and diversifying language learning and teaching.
Make it easier to find information on mobility:
- create a mobility portal site providing access to the various European sources of information;
- put in place ad hoc forums in educational establishments to ensure exchanges between mobility organisers and potential beneficiaries.
Draw up a mobility chart:
- define a methodology enabling the various players to compile reliable statistics on mobility and make as full as possible an inventory of the exchanges;
- improve awareness of the different mobility programmes (bilateral and multilateral) by assembling them in a database;
- ensure better advertising of posts by using networks such as EURES.
Chapter II: Measures promoting the financing of mobility
Look into the financing of mobility: towards financial partnerships
- strengthen coordination between the various players, for example by means of a framework for partnerships, and make best use of financing;
- study possible ways of making better use or increasing mobility budgets;
- encourage public sector participation by examining for example the possibility of loans at preferential rates for those intending to take a period of mobility;
- encourage multiple partnerships, e.g. with the private sector, social partners, etc. to become involved in financing mobility;
- look ahead and study ways of redeploying the mobility appropriations at national level and within future Community programmes.
Democratise mobility by making it financially and socially accessible for all:
- launch an information campaign on the mobility assistance available and how to apply for it and on the social conditions of mobility at the time of going abroad and during the period spent there;
- ensure retention of social benefits for people who take mobility and regularly review any problems that persist;
- study the possibility of offering young people opting for mobility the same preferential tariffs as young people in the host country, regularly review any problems that persist and take suitable steps to remedy them.
Chapter III: Increasing and improving mobility
Introduce new forms of mobility:
- organise more mobility circuits, for example more European universities for all citizens receiving training, including the mobility organisers;
- encourage virtual mobility by making academic and vocational training modules available on the Internet;
- develop bilateral or multilateral exchange circuits, in particular mobility partnerships between universities.
Improve reception facilities for people opting for mobility:
- adopt a quality charter covering reception facilities for trainees who are foreign nationals providing in particular for equal reception facilities;
- provide on-line information on the reception facilities for people opting for mobility.
Simplify the mobility calendar:
- ensure wide dissemination of information on university calendars and school years;
- draft a "European academic calendar" showing the core periods of term time and in appropriate cases concentrate mobility training modules in those periods;
- study the possibility of dividing the university year into semesters and of enrolling and paying fees by semester.
Proper status for people opting for mobility:
- declare that mobility is a priority at all levels and an important component of instruction;
- create a European card for young people opting for mobility;
- give teachers the opportunity to take all or part of their initial or continuing training in another Member State;
- examine the possibility of extending the current higher education post of associate member to other levels.
Chapter IV: Gaining more from periods of mobility
Increase cross-over opportunities by developing the system of recognition and equivalence of diplomas and training:
- encourage all universities to generalise systems of diploma equivalence such as the ECTS;
- generalise academic and vocational diploma supplements to make them recognisable in all Member States;
Recognise the experience gained:
- certify skills acquired during the period of mobility in the field of languages, for example by issuing a certificate;
- generalise Europass-training;
- take into account voluntary work in the Member State of origin.
Gain more from periods of mobility:
- examine the desirability and possibility of providing professional incentives for mobility for teaching staff;
- devise a methodology for measuring the professional impact of periods of mobility.
The resolution emphasises certain priority actions:
- developing multilingualism;
- establishment of a portal giving access to the different European sources of information on mobility;
- recognition of periods of mobility in diploma courses;
- training the teachers and administrative staff involved to become true mobility organisers able to provide advice and guidance and draft mobility projects;
- definition and adoption of a quality charter on reception facilities for foreign nationals on training courses;
- drawing up of an inventory of existing mobility circuits and good practices, exchanges of students, trainees and trainers;
- creating linkage between mobility funding from the different players involved.
Implementation and evaluation
This plan will be implemented by the Commission and the Member States within the limits of their respective powers. With a view to creating a Europe of innovation and knowledge, the Social Agenda approved by the Nice European Council confirmed this commitment by inviting Member States to reinforce their internal coordination to implement the 42 concrete measures and to examine progress achieved every two years.
With an eye to economy and efficiency, this evaluation of progress in the field of mobility will be integrated in the follow-up mechanism provided for in the " Recommendation on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers".
The Resolution follows up the conclusions of the extraordinary European Council in Lisbon of 23 and 24 March 2000 which recognised the urgency of removing obstacles to the mobility of citizens within the European Union in order to create a genuine European area of knowledge. Numerous obstacles still exist, viz. unequal access to information, financial obstacles, administrative difficulties associated with social protection, etc. In this context the European Council invited the Council and the Commission to define the means for fostering the mobility of students, teachers, training and research staff. Hence this plan addresses these categories and suggests possible measures in this area, to be selected by the Member States and the Commission.
This Resolution supplements existing initiatives laying down the appropriate legal framework for promoting mobility and in particular the instrument provided for in the proposal for a " Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers", currently being negotiated.
Following the Communication on the New European Labour Markets, which launched the debate on mobility at the Stockholm European Council of March 2001, the Commission instructed a high level task force to produce a report [PDF ] which forms the basis of this Action Plan. The Action Plan calls for Member States, enterprises and workers themselves to be more responsive to the new requirements of the labour market and also sets the European governments a concrete short-term objective, namely the creation of an EU health insurance card.
The 2005 proposal to recommend that Member States adopt a Charter for Mobility is targeted at the organisations responsible for mobility. It comprises ten guidelines.