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Brussels, 7 May 2010
Education, Youth and Culture Council, 10-11 May
Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will discuss progress by Member States in setting national targets to reduce the number of early school leavers and to increase the proportion of young people in tertiary or equivalent education when she joins Ministers at the Education, Youth and Culture Council in Brussels on 10-11 May 2010. The Council will deal with sport for the first time.
The education targets, which will take account of the different circumstances in each Member State, are expected to be adopted by the European Council on 17 June. They would contribute towards the education and training objectives of 'Europe 2020', the EU's new strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The role of education and training in enhancing social cohesion, social mobility and the fight against poverty and social exclusion will also be discussed by Education Ministers at next week's meeting.
Commissioner Vassiliou will underline her support for measures to boost lifelong learning and the 'new skills for new jobs' initiative. The envisaged measures include better partnerships between education and training institutions with the wider world and schemes to make it easier for people to have their skills recorded and valued.
The Ministers are also expected to ask the Commission to develop an EU international higher education strategy to improve coherence between existing initiatives at EU and national level.
In the area of youth policy, the Ministers will discuss a resolution on the youth dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy, which proposes a new flagship initiative called 'Youth on the Move'. Due for launch in July, this initiative aims to improve learning mobility, employability and the social integration of young people.
Commissioner Vassiliou, together with Youth Ministers from the current 'Team Presidency' (Spain, Belgium, and Hungary) as well as Sweden, will hold an informal meeting with representatives of the European Youth Forum and National Youth Councils in the margins of the meeting.
In the field of culture, the Council is expected to adopt a progress report on the state of play in establishing the European Heritage Label as an EU action. The label would set up an independent panel to select sites that celebrate and symbolize European integration, ideals and history. It is hoped the new-look label will come into effect in 2011 or 2012 (see IP/10/250).
The meeting will also debate the Commission's recently-adopted Green Paper on unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries. Commissioner Vassiliou has launched a public consultation aimed at shaping future EU policy in this area (IP/10/466).
Europeana and digitisation
European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes will welcome the Council's conclusions on Europeana, Europe's digital library (MEMO/10/166), and introduce the recently nominated Reflection Group on digitisation (IP/10/456). Before the end of the year, the Group is due to present innovative solutions on how best to speed up digitisation, online accessibility and preservation of cultural works across Europe. Ms Kroes will urge Ministers to speed up work on the digitisation of cultural work to boost the availability of Europe's cultural heritage on Europeana.
In the area of sport, an exchange of views will take place on the implementation of the sport provisions in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Treaty states that the Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, as well as promoting fairness and openness in competitions and protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportspeople.
The Commission is currently preparing a Communication on an EU agenda for sport and a proposal for a first EU Sport Programme, which will initially run in 2012-13.
To find out more:
Website of Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Website of Nellie Kroes, Commissioner for Digital Agenda