Brussels, 17 November 2010
Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, 18-19 November
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will call for more European cooperation in raising the quality of vocational education and training at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council in Brussels on 18-19 November. For her part, Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, will underline to Ministers the very considerable opportunities new technologies can bring to the creative and content industries, as identified in the Digital Agenda for Europe. The Reflection Group ('Comité des Sages') on bringing Europe's cultural heritage online will have an exchange of views with Ministers before they finalise their report, due at the beginning of 2011. Vice-President Kroes will urge the reflection group to come up with ambitious recommendations to, inter alia, make it easier for cultural institutions to digitise their collections and give access to them through the European portal Europeana. The meeting, gathering Ministers from the 27 EU Member States, will also adopt conclusions on European film heritage and on European cinema in the digital era and discuss the EU's role in the fight against doping in sporting competitions.
In education, the Ministers will fix priorities for enhanced cooperation in vocational education and training and adopt a modernisation agenda up to 2020. This agenda will set out long-term objectives as well as specific goals for 2011-2014.
Commissioner Vassiliou will highlight the Commission's Youth on the Move scheme, which encourages young people to take up grants to study and train abroad to improve their employability and personal development, as well as calling for reforms to improve the quality of education and training to make it more relevant to the needs of students and the job market (see IP/10/1124).
The Ministers will also discuss Commission proposals to improve basic skills in reading literacy, maths and science in the EU, and debate the role of education in combating poverty, inequality and social exclusion.
The Ministers will also discuss a Commission resolution aimed at encouraging youth work; they will also adopt measures on children's rights and youth access to culture.
Commissioner Vassiliou, together with Youth Ministers from the current EU 'Team Presidency' (Spain, Belgium, and Hungary), as well as Poland, will hold an informal meeting with young people, representing the European Youth Forum and National Youth Councils, in the margins of the meeting.
The Council is expected to adopt the EU Culture work plan for 2011-2014 and a progress report on establishing the European Heritage Label as an EU initiative. 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).
Vice-President Kroes and Commissioner Vassiliou will address the priority actions identified by the EU's Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581 MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200) to help the cultural and audiovisual sectors to seize the opportunities of new technologies. For example, the internet can help break down barriers to a true Single Market for innovative online services and opens up new opportunities for the distribution of cultural and audiovisual works. Specific actions are foreseen on intellectual property rights, including collective rights management and solutions to 'orphan works' (whose right holders are unknown) and out-of-print works. Support to the Europeana portal and the digitisation of European cinema will also be discussed. Vice-President Kroes will appeal to Ministers to actively support the implementation of the Digital Agenda in all its aspects. For example, she will recall that the roll-out of broadband networks for all by 2013 and of fast and ultrafast broadband by 2020 (see IP/10/1142), which inter alia requires that there is sufficient radio spectrum made available for wireless broadband (see MEMO/10/425), are crucial to the future success of creative and cultural content.
Ministers are also due to endorse the Commission's recent paper on the opportunities and challenges for European cinema (IP/10/1168) and on European film heritage, including the challenges of the digital era (IP/10/894). Vice-President Kroes will stress that cultural institutions need a favourable legal framework to preserve European films. She will call for clarification of the relevant intellectual property rights necessary for film conservation and will encourage Ministers to ensure that film heritage is fully integrated in their national film policies. Commissioner Vassiliou will highlight the importance of supporting the switch to digital in independent and art-house cinemas, which are more likely to screen European-made films.
The Reflection Group on bringing Europe's cultural heritage online, set up in April 2010 (IP/10/456), is due to brief Ministers about the work it has done so far, including the results of the public consultation which ran between August and September 2010 (IP/10/1055) and the public hearing which took place on 28 October 2010. While their recommendations will only be issued at the beginning of next year, this is an opportunity for an exchange of view with the Ministers of culture on issues such as the best models for public-private partnership for digitisation of the collections of libraries, museums and archives in Europe. There are still serious legal obstacles that stand in the way of more widespread digitisation of works, not just for material that is still in copyright, but also for the orphan works.
In the area of sport, Ministers will adopt a resolution on the structured dialogue in sport and a resolution on the role of sport as a driver for social inclusion. The Commission plans to encourage social inclusion through sport with the support of existing EU programmes and the structural funds. Commissioner Vassiliou will urge Ministers to adopt measures aimed at strengthening the EU's role in the international fight against doping, in particular through improved coordination between Member States and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Commission is due to publish a new communication on sport in the coming weeks.
To find out more:
Website of Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Website of Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda