Brussels, 7 May 2012
Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (10-11 May)
For the first time the Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport will discuss the detail of the European Commission's proposals for the new 'Erasmus for All' and 'Creative Europe' programmes, which will start in 2014. Neelie Kroes, Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will represent the Commission. Vice-President Kroes and Commissioner Vassiliou will take part in a press conference on culture, audiovisual and sport at 1pm on 10 May. A press conference with Commissioner Vassiliou on education and youth will take place at around the same time on 11 May.
Friday, 11 May
Education and youth
The main aim of the new Erasmus for All programme (IP/11/1398) for education, training, youth and sport is to provide financial support for young people to gain skills to boost their employability and personal development. Two thirds of its budget (the Commission has proposed €19 billion in total funding for 2014-2020) will be dedicated to supporting opportunities for young people to study, train or volunteer abroad. The skills gained from this international experience, such as languages, adaptability, self-confidence and inter-cultural awareness, are greatly valued by employers. The remaining third of the budget will support institutional cooperation to help countries modernise their education and training systems and to boost partnerships with the business world, as well to encourage policy reform. Erasmus for All will also promote youth participation in society and grassroots sport.
Erasmus for All brings together the existing Erasmus programme with all the other current EU and international mobility schemes, replacing seven programmes with one (IP/11/1398). This will increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, as well as reducing duplication and fragmentation.
Ministers will discuss a Presidency text, which endorses the overall objectives of the Commission's proposal and its scope. Some, however, are expected to raise the possibility of a separate 'chapter' on youth policies. The Commission believes youth policies would be better addressed through a single, better-funded programme.
Commissioner Vassiliou said: "Our message to young people is, 'Europe is here for you'. I want to make youth policy a part of everything we do as opposed to being a separate issue. That will mean more funding for youth activities, for non-formal learning and for volunteering. Overall, our aim is to increase our support for skills by offering mobility grants for up to 5 million people in 2014-2020."
Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on the employability of graduates from education and training, which will introduce a new benchmark aimed at increasing the employment rate of graduates to 82% by 2020. This is more than 5 percentage points higher than the current EU employment rate of graduates (76.5%). Ministers are also expected to also adopt conclusions on fostering the creative and innovative potential of young people and to hold a policy debate on engaging young people to release their potential. "Tapping into the creative and innovative potential of young people, by promoting entrepreneurship skills for example, can better equip young people for the world of work and encourage their participation in society. Our aim is to improve youth employability through better quality teaching and more labour market oriented education and training," added Commissioner Vassiliou.
Thursday, 10 May
Ministers will discuss the proposed Creative Europe programme (IP/11/1399) which seeks to increase investment in the growth-enhancing cultural and creative sectors, to overcome challenges such as market fragmentation and lack of artistic mobility, as well as to seize the opportunities created by the digital shift.
"Our aim is to make Europe the most culturally vibrant, diverse and successful continent possible. The new programme will support the intrinsic, non-commercial and social values of culture, whilst responding efficiently to the challenges which the sectors face by providing them with funding to reach new audiences and to achieve their full potential," Commissioner Vassiliou stated.
The Commission has proposed a €1.8 billion budget for Creative Europe (2014-2020), which encompasses the existing Culture programme and MEDIA/MEDIA Mundus programmes for cinema, in distinct strands to reflect their specific nature. It would provide funding for 300 000 artists and cultural professionals to reach new audiences beyond their home countries and offer distribution support for more than
1 000 European films.
The Council is also expected to adopt conclusions on combating doping in recreational sport. Commissioner Vassiliou will stress that doping prevention targeting amateur and fitness athletes is as important as anti-doping systems in professional sport.
Vice-President Kroes will welcome draft conclusions on a European Commission Recommendation which aims at making European cultural heritage more widely available and boosting growth in Europe's creative industries. The Commission presented this proposal last October (see IP/11/1292), in which EU Member States are asked to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve the private sector in digitising cultural material. The digitised material should be made available through Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum. The goal is for 30 million objects to be placed in Europeana by 2015; at getting more in-copyright and out-of-commerce material online; and at adapting national legislation and strategies to ensure the long-term preservation of digital materials.
Polish Presidency website: Council meeting, 28-29 November
European Commission: Culture
European Commission: Education
European Commission: Youth
European Commission: Sport
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Digital Agenda website
Neelie Kroes' website
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