Brussels, 25 November 2011
Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (28-29 November)
The EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport will take place on 28-29 November. Neelie Kroes, Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will represent the European Commission. Commissioner Vassiliou will participate in a press conference on education and youth at around 13:00 on 28 November; both Commissioners will take part in a press conference on culture and audiovisual issues at 12:30 on 29 November; Commissioner Vassiliou will also participate in a press conference on sport at 17:30.
Monday, 28 November
Education and youth
The Commission will present its proposal for the new Erasmus for All programme (IP/11/1398). The programme foresees an investment of €19 billion for education, training, youth and sport between 2014 and 2020. It is designed to help up to five million people to acquire new skills to boost employability and innovation. It will enhance the quality of teaching in the EU and beyond, as well as support Member States and non-EU countries in modernising their education and training systems. Erasmus for All will also promote youth participation in society and teaching on European integration, and support grassroots sports.
Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on the modernisation of higher education, following the Commission's Communication on this issue on 20 September (IP/11/1043). The modernisation of higher education systems is a priority in many EU countries, but higher education is still not performing well enough to provide Europe with enough people with the right kinds of skills to create jobs and growth. Commissioner Vassiliou will underline her commitment to help Member States to achieve the necessary reforms to meet the target for 40% of Europe's young people to have a higher education qualification by 2020.
Commissioner Vassiliou will underline the importance of the Council conclusions on a benchmark for learning mobility for promoting the learning mobility of all young people in Europe, whether in higher education, vocational training, volunteering or non-formal learning. The benchmark envisages the monitoring of progress towards the agreed objectives.
Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on language competences to enhance mobility. Commissioner Vassiliou will underline that the ability to use and understand foreign languages is a key competence for fostering employability, growth and jobs and that teaching of at least two foreign languages should start from a very early age.
The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the Eastern dimension of youth participation and mobility. These focus on overcoming the obstacles which young people face in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus in relation to participation and mobility. Commissioner Vassiliou will stress that more young Europeans should have the opportunity to get involved in learning experiences across the whole of Europe.
Ministers are expected to adopt a resolution on a renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning. Commissioner Vassiliou would like to see adult learning kept high on the policy agenda, which should not focus only on education and training for young people.
Tuesday, 29 November
The Commission will present as well its proposal for the Creative Europe programme (IP/11/1399). The new programme foresees an investment of €1.8 billion for Europe's cultural and creative sector between 2014 and 2020. Creative Europe will help professionals and companies to seize the opportunities of rapid technological change, and to overcome the challenges ofa fragmented market and greater international competition to reach new markets in Europe and beyond. The programme will support distribution of European films, facilitate the digitisation of cinemas, support cross-border cultural cooperation and enable small companies to access bank loans through a new financial guarantee facility.
Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on the role of cultural and creative competences which contribute to innovation, growth and employment. Commissioner Vassiliou will stress that these competences are an important element for enhancing culture's relevance in a highly-competitive European economy. She will welcome the Ministers' debate on the need for reliable and comparable statistics on culture at European level to support culture's contribution to European economic and social development.
The Council is expected to adopt a new system of EU representation at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a framework for the EU's coordination ahead of meetings of the WADA Foundation Board. Commissioner Vassiliou will welcome the decision to introduce greater continuity of EU Member States' representation within WADA. The Council is also expected to adopt measures on combating match-fixing. Commissioner Vassiliou will stress the importance of establishing preventive measures to tackle match-fixing. The EU intends to finance test projects in 2012 and as from 2014 it is envisaged that the sport chapter of "Erasmus for All" will support educational campaigns aimed at raising awareness of match fixing. Commissioner Vassiliou will welcome Ministers' recognition of the important role of voluntary activities in sport.
Protection of children in the digital world
Vice-President Kroes will welcome Presidency conclusions on the protection of children in the digital world. Whilst protecting children is everyone's responsibility, she will particularly welcome measures to empower and educate children in their online activities, making them more aware of the potential dangers. The Commission is currently reviewing all the different options, both regulatory and self-regulatory, which could further protect children on-line before coming forward with a new European strategy to make the Internet a safer place for children.
Digitisation and digital preservation
Vice-President Kroes will also make a short presentation on the Commission's recent Recommendation asking EU Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve the private sector in digitising cultural material. The Recommendation challenges Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015 compared to the 19 million available today; to get more in-copyright and out-of-commerce material online; and to adapt national legislation and strategies to ensure the long-term preservation of digital materials.
European Commission: Culture
European Commission: Education
European Commission: Youth
European Commission: Sport
Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/
Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu
Polish Presidency website: Council meeting, 28-29 November