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THE EUROPEAN UNION
14965/06 (Presse 309)
2762nd Council Meeting
Education, Youth and Culture
Brussels, 13-14 November 2006
President Ms Susanna HUOVINEN
Minister for Transport and Communications;
Ms Tanja SAARELA,
Minister for Culture;
Mr Antti KALLIOMÄKI,
Minister for Education,
Main Results of the Council
The Council agreed on a general approach to a draft directive amending the directive on the pursuit of television broadcasting activities.
The Council unanimously adopted a common position on a draft Decision establishing a programme of Community action in the field of consumer policy (2007-2013).
The Council adopted a common position in view of the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council declaring 2008 the European year of intercultural dialogue.
– TV without frontiers 8
– Digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material, and digital preservation -Council conclusions 9
– European Capital of Culture 16
– Economy of culture in Europe 16
– Better understanding and knowledge of youth 17
– Modernising Higher Education in Europe 18
– Enhanced European cooperation on Vocational Education Training (VET) - Council conclusions 18
– Efficiency and equity in education and training - Council conclusions 26
– European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF) 31
– OTHER BUSINESS 32
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
European year of intercultural dialogue 2008 34
European Citizenship - Council resolution 35
Agreement on air services with Australia 40
Regulation of the operation of aeroplanes 40
Carriage of goods by road 40
Korea - Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation 40
Community action programme in the field of consumer policy (2007-2013)* 41
Electrical equipment for use within certain voltage limits 41
Data landings 41
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
Ms Marie-Dominique SIMONET Vice-Minister-President and Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and International Relations (French Community)
Ms Isabelle WEYKMANS Minister for Culture and the Media, the Protection of Monuments, Youth and Sport (German-speaking Community)
Ms Miroslava KOPICOVÁ Minister for Education, Youth and Sports
Ms Petra SMOLÍKOVÁ Deputy Minister for Culture
Mr Brian MIKKELSEN Minister for Culture
Mr Bertel HAARDER Minister for Education and Church Affairs
Ms Annette SCHAVAN Federal Minister of Education and Research
Ms Ursula VON DER LEYEN Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
Mr Bernd NEUMANN Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery, Federal Government Representative for Culture and Media
Mr Eberhard SINNER Minister and Head of State Chancellery, Bavaria
Mr Thomas GOPPEL Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, Bavaria
Mr E. Jürgen ZÖLLNER Minister for Science, Further Education, Research and Culture, Rhineland-Palatinate
Mr Raivo PALMARU Minister for Culture
Mr Giorgos VOULGARAKIS Minister for Culture
Ms Marietta GIANNAKOU Minister for Education and Religious Affairs
Mr Theodoros ROUSOPOULOS Minister of State and Government Spokesman
Mr Jesús CALDERA SÁNCHEZ-CAPITÁN Minister for Labour and Social Affairs
Mr Renaud DONNEDIEU de VABRES Minister for Culture and Communication
Ms Síle de VALERA Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science (with special responsibility for Adult Education, Youth Affairs and Educational Disadvantage)
Mr Francesco RUTELLI Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities
Mr Paolo GENTILONI Minister for Communications
Mr Beppe FIORONI Minister for Education
Ms Giovanna MELANDRI Minister without portfolio, Minister for Youth Policy and Sport
Mr Pefkios GEORGIADES Minister for Education and Culture
Ms Helēna DEMAKOVA Minister for Culture
Ms Baiba RIVŽA Minister for Education and Science
Mr Jonas JUČAS Minister for Culture
Ms Roma ŽAKAITIENÉ Minister for Education and Science
Mr Jean-Louis SCHILTZ Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Minister for Communications, Minister for Defence
Ms Octavie MODERT State Secretary for Relations with Parliament, State Secretary for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, State Secretary for Culture, Higher Education and Research
Mr Gergely ARATÓ Secretary of State, Ministry of Education and Culture
Mr Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH Minister for Tourism and Culture
Ms Maria van der HOEVEN Minister for Education, Culture and Science
Ms Elisabeth GEHRER Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture
Ms Ursula HAUBNER Federal Minister for Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection
Mr Franz MORAK State Secretary, Federal Chancellery
Mr Roman GIERTYCH Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for National Education
Mr Stefan JURGA State Secretary, Ministry of Science and Higher Education
Mr Krzysztof OLENDZKI Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Ms Isabel PIRES DE LIMA Minister for Culture
Mr José MARIANO GAGO Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education
Mr Augusto SANTOS SILVA Minister for Parliamentary Affairs
Mr Jorge PEDREIRA State Secretary for Education, attached to the Minister for Education
Mr Vasko SIMONITI Minister for Culture
Mr Milan ZVER Minister for Education and Sport
Mr Jure ZUPAN Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology
Mr Ján MIKOLAJ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education
Mr Marek MAĎARIČ Minister for Culture
Ms Tanja SAARELA Minister for Culture
Mr Antti KALLIOMÄKI Minister for Education
Ms Susanna HUOVINEN Minister for Transport and Communications
Ms Lena ADELSOHN-LILJEROTH Minister for Culture
Mr Lars LEIJONBORG Minister for Education and Science
Mr Bill RAMMELL Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education
Mr Shaun WOODWARD Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Creative Industries and Tourism
Ms Viviane REDING Member
Mr Ján FIGEĽ Member
The Governments of the Acceding States were represented as follows:
Ms Ekaterina VITKOVA Deputy Minister for Education and Science
Ms Ina KILEVA Deputy Minister of Culture
Mr Adrian IORGULESCU Minister for Culture and Religious Affairs
Mr Dumitru MIRON State Secretary, Ministry of Education and Research
Pending the European Parliament's first reading opinion, the Council agreed on a general approach on a draft directive amending the directive on the pursuit of television broadcasting activities, on the basis of a compromise text tabled by the Presidency (14616/06).
The Council addressed in particular four major issues, namely the Directive's scope, jurisdiction, product placement and quantitative advertising rules.
Following a long discussion, a compromise text was agreed that was supported by all delegations except Sweden, Ireland, Latvia, Belgium, Lithuania, Luxemburg and Austria. The Commission, Austria, Germany and Italy stated their intention of adding statements to the Council minutes.
The text agreed seeks to address the significant technological and market developments of recent years while ensuring a competitive level playing field between service providers. It establishes common minimum rules for all audiovisual media services irrespective of the transmission platform used for their delivery.
Within the notion of audiovisual media services the text distinguishes between "linear" television broadcasts (e.g. scheduled broadcasting via traditional TV, the internet or mobile phones) which "pushes" content to viewers and "non-linear" on-demand services competing with television (such as video-on-demand), which the viewer "pulls" from a network). Only the common minimum rules would apply to on-demand services, whilst additional rules, including the quantitative rules on advertising, would apply to television broadcasts.
The text of the general approach would modernise and simplify the quantitative rules on television advertising by giving more flexibility to broadcasters with regard to the insertion of advertising. However, the draft directive would not increase the hourly amount of admissible advertising and it would continue to limit possible interruptions for cinematographic works, television films and news programmes. Specific restrictions on the interrruption of children's programmes by advertising are also retained.
The general approach would introduce into the Directive rules on the issue of product placement. In principle such a practice would be forbidden, but Member States would be free to derogate from this prohibition for certain categories of programmes, subject to strict conditions to protect the viewer.
Like the existing directive, the general approach continues to use the principle of country-of-origin to determine jurisdiction between Member States. However, the text agreed includes a Community mechanism allowing a "destination" Member State in certain limited circumstances to take measures against a provider established in another Member State. Co-operation between Member States in their handling of services provided across frontiers is also mandatory.
Legal basis proposed: Articles 47 and 55 of the Treaty – qualified majority required for a Council decision; co-decision procedure with the European Parliament applicable.
The Council adopted the following conclusions (14466/06):
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
5. Takes note
6. Invites the Members States
7. Invites the Commission
PRIORITY ACTIONS AND INDICATIVE TIMETABLE
A. Activities and goals for Member States
1. To reinforce national strategies and targets for digitisation and digital preservation by:
2. To reinforce co-ordination within and between Member States by:
3. To contribute to the European digital library by:
4. To contribute to an effective overview of progress at European level by:
5. To improve framework conditions for digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation by:
B. Activities and goals for the Commission
1. To stimulate and co-ordinate work towards a European digital library by:
2. To contribute to improved policy co-ordination on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation by:
3. To address framework conditions by:
4. To assess overall progress at European level by:
In accordance with Decision 1419/1999/EC, the Council designated Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey) as European Capitals of Culture for 2010 (14162/06).
The Council will appoint Mr Thomas ANGYAN (Austria) and Mr Seppo KIMANEN (Finland) as members of the "European Capitals of Culture 2011" selection panel representing the Council. The two candidates were proposed by the Austrian and Finnish delegations during the Council meeting, on 18 May 2006 (9148/1/06).
The decision will be entered in the minutes of the Council's meeting and, thereafter, the Presidency will inform the Commission of the Council's designation.
It should be recalled that under Decision 1419/1999/EC, each year the Commission forms a selection panel, composed of seven leading independent figures who are experts on the cultural sector, which issues a report on the designation of cities as Capitals of Culture. Under Decision 2000/C9/01, each of the two Member States holding the Presidency during the ongoing year nominates a leading figure with a view to their appointment by the Council as its representatives in the selection panel for the following year.
The Council held an exchange of views on the economy of culture in Europe on the basis of a discussion paper submitted by the Presidency (14468/06). This discussion paper was based on a study prepared for the Commission by a consultant (KEA European Affairs ) on the economy of culture. An executive summary was released in mid-October and the full study was made available by the Commission at the end of October. The framework within which this debate took place is the current Work Plan for Culture 2005-2006, adopted by the Council in 2004 which includes as one of its priorities the contribution of creativity and cultural industries to European growth and cohesion.
The Council was invited to discuss three main issues. The need for harmonised cultural statistics at European level. How would delegations assess the recommendations presented in the study and what were the delegations' views on the economy of culture and creative industries within the framework of the Lisbon agenda.
In introducing the debate, the Commission presented a timetable for the preparation of a policy document to be published in Spring 2007. It is expected that the outcomes of this Ministerial debate would provide valuable input to this Communication and that, at the same time, it would be of relevance to the public consultation to be held in December.
The Commissioner further mentioned that the role of culture is growing in importance and that the study can form a solid basis for renewed discussion as it highlights the important contribution culture could make to the Information and communications technologies sector and to regional development. More importantly, the Commissioner highlighted that the study proved the relevance of culture to achieve the goals of the Lisbon agenda. A reference during the Spring European Council to the importance of culture could help to bring the issue forward.
In its summary of the debate the Presidency concluded that there was wide consensus between Member States on the importance of harmonised cultural statistics at European level that would allow a solid assessment of the economic impact of culture. In this respect there was a need for close cooperation between Member States on defining a clear methodological basis. Member States agreed generally that reliable evidence is needed in order to persuade all stakeholders to include culture and creativity into the context of policy making.
The Presidency further concluded that two important recommendations had been highlighted during the debate. One of them was to strengthen the internal market for artists, for example by tackling taxation rules. The other one was to support small and medium enterprises that create cultural content.
The Council held an exchange of views on the contribution of youth research to a better understanding and knowledge of youth on the basis of a Presidency working paper (14473/06). The main objective of the Ministerial debate was to provide fresh impetus to the implementation of the common objectives adopted by the Resolution of 15 November 2004 on a better knowledge and understanding of youth, upon which Member States had agreed to report by the end of 2008.
Summarising the debate, the Presidency emphasised that the development of youth policies was conditional upon obtaining reliable information - both quantitative and qualitative - through independent research. Such research should focus on areas of relevance to political decision-making in the youth field.
The development of coordinated horizontal youth policies and their practical implementation should be promoted by means of a better structured dialogue between relevant actors in the youth field, which in turn implied developing a culture of consultation and dialogue between all interested parties. Networking of this kind could help improve knowledge in the youth field in an efficient manner, as well as facilitate informed policy making. To that end, the development of national networks covering policy, research, youth work and young people was to be encouraged.
Finally, the role of the European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy was underlined, as was the importance of maintaining the quality and reliability of its work by ensuring the supply of reliable, up-to-date information via the national correspondents.
The Council held an exchange of views on modernising higher education in Europe, including the role of the proposed European Institute of Technology (EIT), on the basis of a Presidency question paper(14482/06).
Many delegations welcomed this opportunity for a debate at European level as a complement to national reforms currently being implemented or considered. Emphasising the importance of higher education institutions for future economic growth and employment, they broadly endorsed the need for greater autonomy and accountability of those institutions and for stronger links between them and the business community.
Various delegations favoured more peer-learning initiatives, such as that contained in the United Kingdom's proposal for a compendium to be compiled of good practice in the field of higher education reform, based on Member States' and other countries' experiences.
With regard to the EIT, while most delegations were able broadly to welcome the initiative there was recognition that a large number of practical details remained to be examined , notably those concerning its funding and administration, its compatibility with existing networks and its competence to award degrees.
The Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States adopted the following conclusions:
"The Council of the European Union and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council,
1. on 12 November 2002 the Council approved a Resolution on the promotion of enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training. This was the basis for the declaration adopted by the Ministers responsible for Vocational Education and Training of the EU Member States, the EFTA/EEA and candidate countries, the Commission and the European Social Partners at their meeting in Copenhagen on 29 to 30 November 2002, as the strategy for improving the performance, quality and attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training (Copenhagen process);
2. based on the Council Conclusions of 15 November 2004, the first review of the process held in Maastricht on 14 December 2004 acknowledged that the visibility and profile of VET had improved at European level and that substantial progress had been made. This included a series of common tools and principles. The Maastricht Communiqué set out priorities at national and European level and linked the Copenhagen process more firmly with the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme;
3. since the adoption of the Maastricht Communiqué, the EUROPASS single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competencies and the Council Conclusions on the role of development of skills and competences have been adopted. Consultation on the European Qualifications Framework has been successfully completed and work has continued on developing a credit transfer system for VET (ECVET) which is now the subject of a public consultation.
4. the revised Lisbon strategy and its integrated guidelines for growth and jobs 2005 – 2008 reflect the central role of education and training within the European Union's agenda. It calls on the Member States to expand and improve investment in human capital and to adapt education and training systems in response to the challenges posed by globalisation, demographic change and technological innovation.
5. the 2006 joint interim report on progress under the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme concludes that "the improvement of the quality and attractiveness of VET continues to be a key challenge for the future". It also states that "the search for excellence ....should go hand in hand with a search for greater access and social inclusion";
1. vocational education and training should provide a broad knowledge and skills base relevant to working life, highlighting at the same time excellence at all levels. Policies and practices should assess the relative impacts of investing in different levels of skills and competences. The supply of intermediary and technical skills as well as high level skills should be increased to overcome skills shortages and to help sustain innovation and the growth of the knowledge society;
2. VET has a dual role in contributing to competitiveness and in enhancing social cohesion. VET policies should address all sections of the population, offering attractive and challenging pathways for those with high potential, while at the same time addressing those at risk of educational disadvantages and labour market exclusion – especially early school leavers, those with low qualifications or no qualifications at all, those with special needs, people with an immigrant background and older workers;
3. basic education should provide young people with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary for further learning, employment and entrepreneurship and prepare students to follow a general education pathway or a VET pathway or a combination of both;
4. young people in VET should acquire skills and competences relevant to labour market requirements and for lifelong learning. This calls for policies to reduce drop-out rates from vocational education and training and to better facilitate school-to-work transition, e.g. by combining education and training with work through apprenticeships and work-based learning.
5. the skills and competences of the adult labour force should be promoted by encouraging the recognition of prior learning gained through training and work experience. Training opportunities should be provided for those in working life, while assessing the possibilities for and the benefits of a balanced sharing of the financial burden. At the same time, learning opportunities should be available for disadvantaged individuals and groups, especially for the less educated;
6. the diversity of European VET systems is an asset which serves as a basis for mutual learning and inspiring reforms. At the same time, this diversity makes it important to increase transparency and common understanding on quality issues, and hence mutual trust between VET systems and practices. The aim should be to promote a European VET area in which qualifications and skills acquired in one country are recognised throughout Europe, thus supporting the mobility of young people and adults.
1. the Copenhagen process has played an essential role in emphasising the importance of VET to political decision makers. It has contributed to raising the profile of VET as part of the Lisbon strategy. The process facilitates agreeing common European goals and objectives, discussing national models and initiatives, and exchanging good examples of practice at the European level. At national level, the process has contributed to strengthening the focus on VET and has inspired national reforms.
1. special actions addressing VET need to be strengthened in the future. The Copenhagen process should be continued within the framework of the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme. A focused and holistic approach should be ensured, in which the different initiatives and tools are interlinked and mutually supportive, and in which VET is
developed at all levels as an essential part of lifelong learning with close links to general education. Emphasis should be placed on engaging social partners and sectoral organisations in all stages of the work, and on feeding national experiences back into the developmental work at European level;
2. measures are voluntary and should be developed through bottom-up cooperation.
The Copenhagen and Maastricht priorities remain valid and should be reinforced in the next phase as follows:
1. Policy focused on improving the attractiveness and quality of VET
More attention should be paid by Member States to the image, status and attractiveness of VET. This calls for:
In improving the attractiveness and quality of VET, more emphasis should be placed on good governance of VET systems and providers in delivering the VET agenda. This means:
2. Development and implementation of common tools for VET
The development of common European tools should be continued in order to pave the way towards a European area of VET and to support the competitiveness of the European labour market. The aim should be for the agreed tools to be in place by 2010.
Further development of:
3. Strengthening mutual learning
A more systematic approach is needed to strengthen mutual learning, cooperative work and the sharing of experience and know-how. This should be facilitated by:
Adequate and consistent data and indicators are the key to understanding what is happening in VET, to strengthening mutual learning and to laying the foundations for evidence-based training policy. By the time of the next Ministerial follow-up Conference in 2008 the Commission should have:
This would best be achieved by using and combining existing data to the best advantage, while ensuring adequate national/regional data on VET and consistency and comparability with other data on education and training.
4. Taking all stakeholders on board
The success of the Copenhagen process relies on the active involvement of all stakeholders in the field of VET, including in particular the social partners at European and national level, sectoral organisations and VET providers. This calls for:
to implement the Copenhagen process through:
The right of participation of all Member States in this work should be ensured.
In the annual reporting on the national Lisbon reform programmes special attention should be paid to progress in VET.
The integrated biennial report on the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme should include a specific part addressing VET, enabling monitoring of the progress and identifying key outcomes to be reported to the European Council."
The Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States adopted the following conclusions:
"The Council of the European Union and the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council,
HAVING REGARD to:
1. the strategic goal set for the European Union by the Lisbon Council of 23-24 March 2000, "to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion" and the mandate of the Lisbon Council to the Education Council to undertake "a general reflection on the concrete future objectives of education systems, focusing on common concerns and priorities while respecting national diversity";
2. the report of the Education Council of 12 February 2001 on "The concrete future objectives of education and training systems" submitted to the European Council in Stockholm on 23 and 24 March 2001 setting out three strategic objectives and thirteen associated objectives;
3. the first and second strategic objectives of the 'Education & Training 2010' work programme, "Improving the quality and effectiveness of education and training systems in the EU" - including its associated objective "Making the best use of resources" - and "Facilitating the access to all to education and training systems" - including its associated objectives "Open learning environment" and "Supporting active citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion" ;
4. the Commission communication of 10 January 2003 on "Investing efficiently in education and training: an imperative for Europe", which calls for "a substantial increase in investment in human resources" and for "spending existing resources more efficiently";
5. the Council conclusions of 5 May 2003 on Reference Levels of European Average Performance in Education and Training (Benchmarks) which stressed that "the Council has agreed to establish a series of reference levels of European average performance... which will be used as one of the tools for monitoring the implementation" of the 'Education & Training 2010' work programme.
6. the joint interim report of the Council and the Commission of 26 February 2004 on the implementation of the 'Education & Training 2010' work programme, which emphasises the "urgent need to invest more, and more efficiently and effectively in human resources" and calls for "a higher level of public sector investment ... and, where appropriate, a higher level of private investment, particularly in higher education, adult education and continuing vocational training";
7. the joint interim report of the Council and the Commission of 23 February 2006 on the implementation of the 'Education & Training 2010' work programme, which underlines that giving equal consideration to the efficiency, quality and equity objectives of the education and training systems is a "sine qua non of achieving the Lisbon goals while strengthening the European social model" and that "there is no trade-off between efficiency and equity" and further that "in particular, investment in pre-primary education is of paramount importance for preventing school failure and social exclusion";
8. the conclusions of the Spring European Council of 23-24 March 2006, which stressed that "education and training are critical factors to develop the EU's long-term potential for competitiveness, as well as for social cohesion", that "reforms must ... be stepped up to ensure high quality education systems which are both efficient and equitable" and that "investments in education and training produce high returns which substantially outweigh the costs and reach far beyond 2010";
9. the Commission communication on "Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems" which invites the Member States to develop a culture of evaluation and which, having been prepared in collaboration with research networks, represents a positive step towards the further development of evidence-based policy in education and training.
1. education and training are fields for the relevant authorities in individual Member States to organise and resource in accordance with national legislation, policies and practices. At the same time, however, there is a need for European cooperation in order to learn from one another's experiences and good practices, and for indicators and benchmarks in order to follow progress. Successful education and training policies in a lifelong learning context require a cross-sectoral approach in conjunction with other relevant policies, especially those in the fields of research and innovation, employment, economic affairs, social and health care, youth and culture.
1. education and training, as essential contributors to democracy, social cohesion and sustainable economic growth, should be seen as a priority investment for the future. The challenge for Member States within their lifelong learning strategies is to identify those priorities for education investments that will impact most efficiently on the quality and equity of learning outcomes;
2. improving efficiency and equity in education and training is crucial in the face of the challenges posed by globalisation, demographic changes, rapid technological developments and increasing pressure on public budgets. Despite the tight constraints on public spending, there is widespread recognition of the need to ensure adequate – and where appropriate increased - funding for human resources and therefore to consider how to increase and/or make the best use of private contributions;
3. inequities in education and training systems, resulting in outcomes such as low levels of achievement, school drop-outs and early school leaving, engender heavy hidden social costs for the future which can far outweigh the investments made. The development of efficient and equitable high quality education and training systems contributes significantly towards reducing the risks of unemployment, social exclusion and wasted human potential in a modern knowledge-based economy;
4. quality is a common objective for all forms of education and training in the European Union and should be regularly monitored and evaluated. Quality is not only a matter of learning outcomes or delivery of tuition, but also of how well education and training systems cater for individual, social and economic needs, as well as of strengthening equity and improving well-being;
5. the motivation, skills and competences of teachers, trainers, other teaching staff and guidance and welfare services, as well as the quality of school leadership, are key factors in achieving high quality learning outcomes. The efforts of teaching staff should be supported by continuous professional development and by good cooperation with parents, pupil welfare services and the wider community. In addition, high quality teaching and learning environments ensure good conditions for learning and contribute to positive learning outcomes;
6. research evidence has shown that in the long term pre-primary education and targeted early intervention programmes can bring the highest rates of return over the whole lifelong learning process, especially for the most disadvantaged. They produce positive human and socio-economic results that carry over into further education and adulthood. Whilst respecting the responsibility of the Member States for organising their education and training systems, there is also some research evidence to suggest that, in certain cases, differentiating pupils at too early an age into separate schools of different types on the basis of ability may have negative effects on the achievement of disadvantaged pupils;
7. as learning communities, educational institutions should focus on the wider learning environment in order to promote and maintain efficiency, equity and general well-being. Special measures are needed to identify and support pupils with special educational needs. These measures include ensuring sufficient numbers of specially trained teaching and guidance staff together with a high standard of pupil welfare services and adequate resources. Although the cross-sectoral co-operation needed for early intervention and other special measures aimed at ensuring equity in education and training inevitably entail additional costs, in the long term they pay dividends by helping to avoid future costs resulting from exclusion;
8. improving access to upper secondary level education and reducing rates of early school leaving are crucial for increasing the employability of individuals in a modern knowledge-based society and for fostering social inclusion and active citizenship, as well as for strengthening the European social model. As the labour market demand for skills rises, it is increasingly important to give the younger generation access to qualifications and skills, thereby improving their prospects for employment and social integration;
9. the need to modernise Europe's universities, given their interlinked roles in the fields of education, research and innovation, has been recognised not only as a pre-condition for the success of the broader Lisbon Strategy, but also as part of a general move towards an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy. The growth in student numbers and cost of high-quality education and research will require increased and/or more effective use of both public and private resources. High quality higher education also has a key role to play in education and training as a whole, by educating future teaching staff and updating and renewing the whole knowledge base of education;
10. vocational education and training have a significant impact on employment and social integration. Ensuring relevant, high quality qualifications for young people and improving the skills and competences of the low-skilled and disadvantaged groups bring substantial economic gains, even in the short term. Competence-based qualifications frameworks and other mechanisms for recognising prior learning promote efficiency and equity by taking into account non-formal and informal learning outcomes in addition to formal qualifications. Encouraging partnerships between stakeholders - including the social partners and sectoral organisations - could also enhance the effectiveness and attractiveness of vocational education and training programmes.
11. rapid technological development together with changes in the demographic structure of Europe make it necessary to invest more in updating and upgrading the skills, qualifications and key competences of adults, especially the low-skilled. In the short term, targeting investments on updating and upgrading existing skills and competences of the labour force is a rapid way of contributing towards economic growth and competitiveness, and of discouraging early retirement of the ageing work force. Adult learning also has a key role to play in providing new key competences, such as digital literacy, and thus contributing towards greater social inclusion and active participation in community and society, including after retirement;
INVITE THE MEMBER STATES to
1. further consider whether the present arrangements for funding, governing and managing their education and training systems adequately reflect the need to ensure both efficiency and equity, and so make optimum use of resources. With that in view, they are invited to examine possible ways of improving the present arrangements, in order to avoid the hidden but high costs of educational inequity;
2. ensure the efficient targeting of education and training reforms and investment, both in the long term and the short term, in order to meet the needs of the knowledge-based society through improved quality and equity, particularly by focusing on pre-primary education, targeted early intervention programmes and equitable education and training systems that are aimed at providing opportunities, access, treatment and outcomes which are independent of socio-economic background and other factors which may lead to educational disadvantage. In addition, the provision of high quality teaching in disadvantaged areas should be particularly encouraged.
3. ensure adequate funding for human resources and, where appropriate, increase public funding and encourage greater complementary private contributions, in order to secure more equitable access to higher education. The modernisation of the higher education and research sectors is also important to improve their efficiency. Consideration should also be given to fostering collaborative links with business in areas of research and development;
4. ensure adequate funding of adult education and continuing vocational education and training, and encourage active partnerships with employers in order to focus on the skills needs of the economy, including at regional and local levels;
5. encourage research into the outcomes of education reforms and investments and into the social benefits resulting from them. Coherent, relevant, reliable, evidence-based information is the basis for accountability as well as for taking the action needed to achieve quality, equity and efficiency throughout the education and training system. At the same time, monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance should provide objective and transparent feed-back and support for the development of teaching and learning methods and practice;
INVITE THE COMMISSION AND THE MEMBER STATES to
1. work together with the relevant research networks, in order to provide more comprehensive and integrated analyses in support of education and training reforms and, where appropriate, develop internationally comparable indicators on the efficiency and equity of education and training systems;
2. encourage and support research into the social and economic impact of education and training reforms and investments both at national and international level. There is a need for more research, particularly in sectors that are not currently sufficiently researched - such as pre-primary education, vocational training, lifelong learning and the economics of education, in particular the impact of private contributions;
3. make use of relevant research results and existing data to combine quality, equity and efficiency dimensions in the preparation of both the 'Education & Training 2010' national reports and the 2008 joint interim report, as well as in relation to a possible proposal for common objectives for European education and training systems and their promotion beyond 2010;
4. design and implement peer-learning activities in the field of efficiency and equity in the framework of the 'Education & Training 2010' work programme;
5. make appropriate use of the Lifelong Learning Programme, the Structural Funds and the Seventh Research Framework Programme to support the efficiency and equity aspects of education and training systems."
Pending the European Parliament's first reading opinion, the Council agreed on a general approach to a draft recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning (14478/06).
The draft recommendation aims at providing a common language to describe qualifications, thereby increasing transparency, improving comparability and facilitating the recognition of different qualifications acquired under the various EU education and training systems, thus promoting the mobility of citizens and, in particular, of students within Europe.
Legal basis proposed: Articles 149 (4) and 150 (4) of the Treaty – qualified majority required for a Council decision; co-decision procedure with the European Parliament applicable.
The Council was briefed on the following items:
– Intervention from the Presidency
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
The Council adopted a common position with a view to the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council declaring 2008 as the European year of intercultural dialogue (14153/06).
The text will be sent to the European Parliament with a view to the second reading, in the context of the codecision procedure.
The overall objectives of the European year are to contribute to:
The activities of the European year will be developed around three types of action:
The budget for the European year is set at 10 million Euros.
The Council adopted the following resolution:
"The Council of the European Union and the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council
1. In its Resolution of 27 June 2002 the Council adopted the open method of coordination as a new framework for European cooperation in the youth field and endorsed the four thematic priority areas for youth highlighted in the Commission's White Paper of November 2001 entitled "A new impetus for youth", namely participation, information, voluntary activities and a greater understanding and knowledge of youth;
2. In its Resolution of 25 November 2003, the Council adopted common objectives for participation by and information for young people under the open method of coordination and agreed to report on the implementation of those objectives by the end of 2005;
3. The European Council of March 2005 adopted the European Youth Pact as one of the instruments contributing to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives;
4. In its Resolution of 24 May 2005 on implementing the common objectives for youth information, the Council agreed to focus on increased networking among youth-oriented information structures and on the continuous training of those involved in the youth information field;
5. In its Resolution of 24 May 2005 on increasing participation by young people in the system of representative democracy, the Council agreed to meet in 2006 to review progress on this objective on the basis of national reports on the participation priority;
6. In its Resolution of 24 May 2005 on the evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field, the Council agreed upon measures to further develop procedures for implementing the open method of coordination;
7. In its Resolution of 15 November 2005 on addressing the concerns of young people, the Council invited the Commission to develop a structured dialogue and called on the Commission and the Member States to evaluate the framework of European cooperation in the youth field in 2009;
8. In its Communication of 20 July 2006, the Commission proposed to confirm the relevance and validity of the common objectives on participation by and information for young people and to adapt and to intensify implementation of the adopted lines of action. The Commission also proposed concrete actions for structuring dialogue with young people and reinforcing the governance of the open method of coordination;
1. In its European Youth Information Charter the European Youth Information and Counselling Agency lays down a number of guidelines for minimum standards and quality measures which may serve as elements of a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated approach to youth information work, which is a part of youth policy;
2. In its revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, the Council of Europe highlighted the importance of creating the conditions for genuine dialogue and partnership between young people and local and regional authorities and enabling young people and their representatives to be full actors in the policies affecting them;
1. the socio-economic and cultural challenges posed by the decline in the proportion of young people in the European population should be reflected in EC policies on youth and generations;
2. cross-sectoral youth policies are of great importance to the efficient implementation of the Lisbon Strategy objectives for growth, jobs and citizenship policies;
3. the common priorities for participation by and information for young people have provided an impetus for national youth policies and remain essential for promoting active citizenship among young people, especially those with fewer opportunities;
4. youth organisations play a key role in facilitating and promoting youth participation and supporting young people in achieving their full potential;
5. for the development of youth policies, it is essential to engage young people, those active in youth work and youth organisations, as well as youth researchers - recognising their respective areas of competence - in policy-shaping discussions on matters affecting young people;
6. the concept of active citizenship should be broadened to encompass not only its social and political dimensions, but also its cultural, economic and evolving technological aspects;
7. the various forms of active citizenship which exist should be considered as an opportunity for enhancing democracy and bringing new topics to the political agenda;
8. the open method of coordination in the youth field should be reinforced as a means of better implementing the common objectives, when developing national youth policy programmes and strategies.
1. the relevance and validity of the common objectives for participation by and information for young people adopted in 2003 are confirmed;
2. the lines of action adopted for the common objectives for participation by and information for young people, as described in the Annex hereto, will be adapted and improved;
3. fora for debate and dialogue with young people, those active in youth work and youth organisations, and youth researchers, should be better structured and further developed, from the local to the European level;
4. the opinions and concerns of young people should be taken into account through both bottom-up and top-down dialogue processes, in order to ensure the inclusion of those aspects of young people's lives which they themselves consider relevant;
5. due account should be taken of this structured dialogue and its outcome in policy-making at the relevant levels;
6. an informal forum composed of representatives of young people, the current and future Council Presidencies, the European Parliament and the Commission should be set up and should meet regularly, in order to ensure consistency and continuity between agendas in the youth field;
7. in order to increase young people's sense of European citizenship, advantage should be taken of other initiatives such as the Commission's Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate;
8. the priority themes to be discussed until 2009 within this structured dialogue are social inclusion and diversity in 2007, intercultural dialogue in 2008 and perspectives for continued cooperation in the youth field in 2009. These issues should be discussed in parallel with the priority themes tackled under the Youth OMC and the European Youth Pact, as well as with horizontal priorities agreed upon in the youth field, such as anti-discrimination and health. These themes would be further defined by the Presidencies in accordance with their particular agendas.
INVITE THE MEMBER STATES TO
1. identify, by the end of March 2007, those lines of action for participation and information on which they intend to concentrate and to define concrete measures and/or action plans for their implementation;
2. set up preparatory and follow-up mechanisms to ensure the effective implementation of the common objectives in cooperation with the relevant actors, inter alia young people, youth organisations, youth researchers and local and regional authorities;
3. promote the common objectives for participation and information amongst regional and local authorities, youth organisations and young people and closely cooperate with regional and local authorities in order to ensure the fullest possible implementation of those objectives;
4. indicate, when reporting on the common objectives for greater knowledge and understanding of youth at the end of 2008, how the identified lines of action for the common objectives for participation by and information for young people have been implemented.
NOTE THAT THE COMMISSION INTENDS TO
1. launch a youth-specific Eurobarometer;
2. mobilise European youth information networks to support the structured dialogue;
3. further develop the European Youth Portal;
4. organise together with relevant partners in the participating countries, and on a regular basis, a European Youth week with the participation of Commissioners and representatives of the other European institutions, preceded by a European youth portal consultation whenever possible;
5. arrange encounters with young people who do not usually have contacts with the European institutions.
INVITE THE MEMBER STATES AND THE COMMISSION TO
1. ensure that the process of the open method of coordination remains open and transparent and that the best possible use is made of the information provided by that process;
2. develop and support a continuous and structured dialogue aimed at ensuring a timely and effective contribution by young people and other relevant actors in the youth field towards the formulation of policies relevant to young people's lives;
3. collaborate with the relevant actors, inter alia local and regional authorities, as well as with educational institutions and non-governmental organisations, in setting up this structured dialogue;
4. endeavour to ensure that the structured dialogue brings together those involved in youth issues either directly or indirectly, in order to develop a more coherent and cross-sectoral approach to such issues;
5. encourage an inclusive approach to this dialogue involving young people engaged in various and innovative forms of active citizenship, non-organised young people and young people with fewer opportunities and create conditions for the equal participation of all young people;
6. encourage peer learning activities on information for and participation by young people, where appropriate involving European countries which are not members of the EU;
7. set up on a voluntary basis a working group at European level to consider practical means of assessing the impact of implementation of the common objectives for participation by and information for young people. The Commission is invited to report back to the Council on the results achieved by this working group;
8. make the best use of the 2007 – 2013 "Youth in Action" programme to support this structured dialogue;
9. discuss the implementation of this structured dialogue at national and European level in the context of the evaluation of the framework of European cooperation in the youth field in 2009."
The Council adopted a decision approving the signing and provisional application of the agreement between the EU and Australia on certain aspects of air services.
The agreement is the result of negotiation under a mandate by which the Commission can negotiate with any third country with a view to bringing Member States' existing bilateral aviation agreements with that country into line with Community law.
The Council adopted a directive on the regulation of the operation of aeroplanes covered by Part II, Chapter 3, Volume 1 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, second edition (codified version) (PE-CONS 3635/06).
The directive codifies and repeals Directive 92/14/EEC of 2 March 1992, substituting the various acts incorporated in it by bringing them together with only such amendments as are required by the codification exercise itself.
The Council adopted a directive establishing common rules for certain types of carriage of goods by road (codified version) (PE-CONS 3637/06).
The directive codifies and repeals the first Council Directive of 23 July 1962 on the establishment of certain common rules for international transport, substituting the various acts incorporated in it by bringing them together with only such amendments as are required by the codification exercise itself.
The Council adopted a decision approving the signature of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation with the Republic of Korea (13815/06).
The signature of the agreement between the European Community and the government of Korea is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 22 November. The conclusion of the agreement will be subject to a subsequent Council decision.
The Council unanimously adopted a common position on a draft Decision establishing a programme of Community action in the field of consumer policy (2007-2013) (13241/06, 14678/06 ADD 1 REV 1).
The programme has two main objectives:
(1) to ensure a high level of consumer protection, in particular through improved evidence, better consultation and better representation of consumers' interests;
(2) to ensure the effective application of consumer protection rules notably through enforcement cooperation, information, education and redress.
The programme provides for a list of eleven consumer actions, from which specific projects will be selected annually in the work programme.
The financial contribution from the EU budget is fixed at EUR 156,8 million.
The Council adopted a directive on the harmonisation of the laws of Member States relating to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits (codified version) (PE-CONS 3638/06).
The directive codifies and repeals Directive 73/23/EEC of 19 February 1973, substituting the various acts incorporated in it by bringing them together with only such amendments as are required by the codification exercise itself.
The Council adopted a common position in view of the adoption of a Regulation on the submission of statistical data on landings of fishery products in Member States repealing Regulation 1382/91. (14283/06)
The text will be sent to the EP, which will approve it at second reading without amendments.
 Council Directive 89/552/EEC (OJ L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23) as last amended by Directive 97/36/EC (OJ L 202, 30.7.1997, p. 60).
 The Dynamic Action Plan for the EU co-ordination of digitisation of cultural and scientific content.
 Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe.
 the suggested timetable for activities and goals represent targets for Member States and the Commission but does not have a binding character.
 OJ L 166, 1.7.1999, p. 1.
 Council Decision of 17 December 1999 on the appointment by the Council of two members of the selection panel (OJ C 9, 13.1.2000, p. 1).
 OJ C 13, 18.1.2003, p.2.
 Resolution on
guidance throughout life (9286/04);
Conclusions on identification and validation of non-formal and informal learning
Conclusions on quality assurance in VET (9599/04).
 Europass (OJ L 390,
31.12.2004, p.6) ;
Conclusions on skills and competences (OJ C 292, 24.11.2005, p.3).
 "Modernising education and training: a vital contribution to prosperity and social cohesion in Europe" - 2006 joint interim report of the Council and of the Commission on progress under the "Education and Training 2010" work programme, (OJ C 79, 1.4.2006, p.1).
 Presidency conclusions, Brussels European Council, 23/24 March 2006 (7775/06).
 Such as the European Skills Competition to be organised in the Netherlands in 2008 and the biannual World Skills Competitions.
 Key messages to the Spring European Council (7620/06).
 Conclusions on quality assurance in VET (9599/04).
 Council Conclusions of 24 May 2005 on new indicators in education and training
(OJ C 141, 10.6.2005, p.7).
 Presidency conclusions, Lisbon European Council, 23-24 March 2000 (SN 100/1/00 REV 1).
 "The concrete future objectives of education and training systems" - Report from the Education Council to the European Council (5980/01).
 Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe (OJ C 142, 14.6.2002).
 "Investing efficiently in education and training: an imperative for Europe" - Commission Communication (5269/03).
 OJ C 134, 7.6.2003, p. 3.
 "'Education & Training 2010': the success of the Lisbon strategy hinges on urgent reforms" - Joint interim report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe
 "Modernising education and training: a vital contribution to prosperity and social cohesion in Europe" - 2006 joint interim report of the Council and of the Commission on progress under the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme (OJ C 79, 1.4.2006, p. 1).
 Presidency conclusions, Brussels European Council, 23/24 March 2006 (7775/06).
 "Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems" - Communication from the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament (12677/06).
 O.J. C 168, 13.07.2002, p.2.
 O.J. C 295, 5.12.2003, p.6.
 7619/1/05. Conclusion 37
 O.J. C 141, 10.06.2005, p.5.
 O.J. C 141, 10.06.2005, p.3.
 O.J. C 141, 10.06.2005, p. 1.
 O.J. C 292, 24.11.2005, p. 5.
 14775/05 and 9393/06.
 Such as ERYICA, EURODESK and EYCA.