Strasbourg, 9 March 2004
The future of education and citizenship policies: The Commission adopts guidelines for future programmes after 2006
The Commission today adopted two communications, "The new generation of education and training programmes" and "Citizenship in action", setting out the guidelines for future programmes intended to replace the current Community programmes Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Tempus, Youth, Culture 2000 and Media Plus from 2007. These documents follow on from the communication of 10 February on the financial outlook.1 They underline the need to establish reinforced and restructured programmes which are clearer to the citizens of an enlarged European Union, enabling them in particular to benefit from a true common area in terms of mobility. Once established, these new programmes will also enable institutions in the fields of education, training and culture to improve the way they cooperate with each other. These programmes will also contribute to achieving the Lisbon objective, namely of making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010. These communications do not prejudice the final content of the legislative proposals to be adopted (at the beginning of summer), particularly their financial aspects.
"I had undertaken to trace, during the first half of 2004, the prospects for the European programmes for which I am responsible; and that is what I have done", said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner responsible for education and culture. She added: "The two communications adopted today concern all Europeans, ranging from schooling to citizenship".
"Questions linked to education and citizenship will be among the major challenges of the next decade", Mrs Reding continued. "In a Union which will have nearly 500 million inhabitants in 2007, giving them the means to exploit the full potential of their belonging, in cultural and citizenship terms, to such an extraordinarily diverse whole will require the mobilisation of all the tools and programmes at our disposal. The programmes covered by the communications adopted today will therefore form part of a new overall approach, building bridges between cultures and individuals."
Communication on "The new generation of education and training programmes"
In the field of education and lifelong learning, recent years have seen the rise of programmes such as Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci, and a growing awareness among Member States of the importance of placing education and training at the heart of the Lisbon strategy aimed at making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010.
In the same spirit, the Bologna (higher education) and Copenhagen (vocational training) strategies, intended to strengthen the coherence and quality of European policies in their respective fields, recognise the role played by Community policies.
The communication adopted on this subject responds to a number of major challenges and lays down ambitious objectives:
- To ensure from 2007 a successor for current programmes supporting mobility and cooperation in the fields of education and training, namely Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci, and the external cooperation programme, Tempus;
- To establish a single and unique integrated programme for education and lifelong learning bringing together the Member States, the member countries of EFTA and the candidate countries, and grouping together education and vocational training, ranging from primary schooling to adult training;
- In response to public consultation, which showed that current programmes were too complicated, this integrated programme will be more flexible and easier to access. It will be heavily decentralised, with 80% of funds administered by national agencies in the participating countries;
- A number of quantified targets illustrate the scale of the challenges:
- at least 10% of school pupils in the Union and their teachers (as opposed to 3% today) should take part in the Comenius programme between 2007-2013;
- the number of 3 million students benefiting from Erasmus is to be reached by 2010, i.e. tripling the current number of 120 000 students taking part in the programme each year;
- at least 150 000 persons each year are to have access to the Leonardo programme by 2013 (currently 45 000);
- at least 50 000 adults each year are to benefit from education or training abroad by 2013;
- A new Tempus programme, called Tempus Plus, extended to cover school, university and adult education, as well as vocational training, which will relate to cooperation between the Member States, neighbour States of the Union and those already taking part in the Tempus programme. The mobility objective would be for 100 000 persons to benefit from a Tempus Plus mobility measure by 2013.
Communication on "Citizenship in action"
The communication on "Citizenship in action" proposes, as an extension to the communication of 10 February on the financial outlook which makes "citizenship" one of the Commission's priorities, renewing and modernising a number of programmes which finish in 2006.
Four sections will be at the heart of action in favour of "citizenship" of the Union:
- Youth: the programme will provide the means of exploiting opportunities arising from belonging to the European Union for young people aged between 13 and 30. With a view to simplification, the programme management will essentially be decentralised and will provide measures such as "European voluntary service" (involvement of young people in a solidarity measure) for which 10 000 volunteers per year (or 70 000 over the whole period) are planned - or "Youth for the world" (cooperation measures, for example in neighbouring countries);
- Culture: the programme will need to take into account the extraordinary diversity of cultural cooperation in Europe, characterised by thousands of players of all sizes from one Member State to another. The future programme will have a number of priorities, namely: encouraging transnational mobility for professionals in the cultural sector, the transnational circulation of works, including intangible works, and the development of an inter-cultural dialogue. A number of targets have been proposed, such as annual support for approximately 50 trans-European cultural networks or organisations and the funding over the period after 2006 of some 1 400 cultural cooperation projects in the enlarged Union;
- Media: the programme which will replace Media Plus will pursue and improve its role in promoting the audiovisual aspects of European cultural diversity, increasing the circulation of European audiovisual works in the Union (for example by increasing from 11 to 20% the market share for European films distributed outside their country of production) and improving the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector in order to facilitate access by citizens to European cultures;
- Civic participation: the programme will be aimed at players in civil society (NGOs) and social players, in particular by supporting twinning.
1 See note IP/04/189 'Building our common future: Financial and political outlook for the enlarged Union 2007-2013'.