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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Vassiliou supports Universal Children's Day (20 November)

Brussels, 18 November 2011 – On the eve of Universal Children's Day, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "Children and young people are the most vulnerable members of our societies. They need care, protection and support. In these difficult times we must not reduce our support for them but rather strengthen our actions to make sure that they have a future. I will soon propose a new programme that will considerably increase the EU's investment in education, training and youth to the benefit of young people in Europe and beyond."

Every year, EU education and training programmes give around 400,000 young people and others the chance to improve their skills through international exchanges. Through its Comenius programme the EU provides grants to schools and teachers to organise partnerships and exchanges with schools in other countries. In addition, the EU Youth in Action programme offers teenagers the opportunity to participate in trans-national youth exchanges, aimed at helping them to develop new skills and learn about new cultures. 'Erasmus for All', the Commission's new programme for education, training, youth and sport, will seek to build on these successful initiatives by significantly increasing funding for study, training and volunteering abroad.

Commissioner Vassiliou is a strong advocate for improving the quality of education and opportunities for all young people, regardless of background. Her "Europe loves Reading" campaign, a series of reading events across Europe, involving children, adolescents and adults, is helping to raise public awareness on the issue of literacy.

The European Commission also supports EU Member States to address shared challenges such as reducing the level of early school leavers, increasing basic skills and improving early childhood education services to develop education systems for the benefit of all children.

The Commission has also pioneering the eTwinning project to create an online community of schools, which provide children with a European learning experience in a safe internet environment ( ).

Universal Children's Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954 and takes place every November 20.

To find out more:

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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