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COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

EN

C/07/256
14806/07 (Presse 256)
PRESS RELEASE
2829th meeting of the Council
Education, Youth and Culture
Brussels, 15 and 16 November 2007
President Ms Maria de Lurdes RODRIGUES, Minister for Education,
Mr José MARIANO GAGO, Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education,
Ms Isabel PIRES DE LIMA, Minister for Culture and
Mr Pedro SILVA PEREIRA, Minister responsible for Portugal's Presidency of the Council

Main results of the Council
The Council adopted a Directive amending Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC with regard to improving the effectiveness of review procedures concerning the award of public contracts.
The Council reached political agreement on a draft Recommendation which will establish a European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning.
The Council established a general approach on a draft Decision extending the scope of the current Erasmus Mundus programme until the end of the current financial framework (2013).

CONTENTS1

PARTICIPANTS 5

ITEMS DEBATED

EDUCATION 7

Qualifications for lifelong learning 7

Improving the quality of teacher education – Council conclusions 8

Education and training as a key driver of the Lisbon Strategy – Council Resolution 9

New skills for new jobs – Council Resolution 10

Towards a more multilingual Europe 11

Erasmus Mundus 12

Modernisation of universities 13

Student mobility: broadening the social dimension of Erasmus 14

CULTURE 15

First meeting of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council 15

European Agenda for Culture – Council Resolution 16

European Capitals of Culture 2011 17

YOUTH 18

Voluntary activities of young people – Council Resolution* 18

Transversal approach to youth policy – Council conclusions 19

European Youth Pact 20

ANY OTHER BUSINESS 21

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

INTERNAL MARKET

  • Chemicals – REACH Regulation – Enlargement 23
  • Review procedures concerning the award of public contracts* 23

FISHERIES

  • Agreement with Madagascar 23

PARTICIPANTS

The governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium:

Mr Frank VANDENBROUCKE Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Work, Education and Training

Bulgaria:

Mr Stefan Lambov DANAILOV Minister for Culture

Czech Republic:

Mr Václav JEHLIČKA Minister for Culture

Mr Jan KOCOUREK Deputy Minister for Transport, Rail and Water Transport Section

Denmark:

Mr Jens KISLING Deputy Permanent Representative

Germany:

Mr Thomas RACHEL Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Education and Research

Mr Thomas GOPPEL Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, Bavaria

Estonia:

Mr Tõnis LUKAS Minister for Education and Science

Ms Laine JÄNES Minister for Culture

Ireland:

Ms Mary HANAFIN Minister for Education and Science

Mr Seán HAUGHEY Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science and at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with special responsibility for Lifelong Learning, Youth Work and School Transport

Greece:

Mr Evripidis STYLIANIDIS Minister for Education and Religious Affairs

Mr Mihail-Georgios LIAPIS Minister for Culture

Spain:

Mr César Antonio MOLINA SÁNCHEZ Minister for Culture

Ms Mercedes CABRERA CALVO-SOTELO Minister for Education and Science

Ms Aurora DOMÍNGUEZ GONZÁLEZ Under-Secretary for Labour and Social Affairs

Ms María José SALGUEIRO CORTIÑAS Minister for Culture of the Autonomous Community of Castile-Leon

Mr Juan José MATEOS OTERO Minister for Culture of the Autonomous Community of Castile-Leon

Ms Miren AZKARATE Minister for Culture of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country

France:

Ms Christine ALBANEL Minister for Culture and Communication

Italy:

Mr Nando DALLA CHIESA State Secretary for Universities and Research

Cyprus:

Mr Akis CLEANTHOUS Minister for Education and Culture

Latvia:

Ms Baiba RIVŽA Minister for Education and Science

Mr Ainars BAŠTIKS Minister for Children and the Family

Lithuania:

Ms Roma ŽAKAITIENĖ Minister for Education and Science

Mr Jonas JUČAS Minister for Culture

Ms Violeta MURAUSKAITE Undersecretary, Ministry of Social Security and Labour

Luxembourg:

Ms Mady DELVAUX-STEHRES Minister for Education and Vocational Training

Ms Marie-Josée JACOBS Minister for the Family and Integration, Minister for Equal Opportunities

Hungary:

Ms Agnes VARGHA Deputy Permanent Representative

Malta:

Mr Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH Minister for Tourism and Culture

Netherlands:

Mr Peter W. KOK Deputy Permanent Representative

Austria:

Ms Claudia SCHMIED Federal Minister for Education, Arts and Culture

Mr Johannes HAHN Federal Minister for Science and Research

Poland:

Mr Andrzej WASKO State Secretary, Ministry of Science and Higher Education

Mr Tomasz MERTA Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

Portugal:

Mr Pedro SILVA PEREIRA Minister for the Prime Minister's Office

Ms Maria de Lurdes RODRIGUES Minister for Education

Ms Isabel PIRES DE LIMA Minister for Culture

Mr José MARIANO GAGO Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education

Romania:

Mr Anton ANTON State Secretary, Ministry of Education, Research and Youth

Mr Andras DEMETER State Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs

Slovenia:

Mr Milan ZVER Minister for Education and Sport

Mr Vasko SIMONITI Minister for Culture

Ms Mojca KUCLER DOLINAR Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology

Slovakia:

Mr Ján MIKOLAJ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education

Mr Ivan SEČÍK State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture

Finland:

Ms Sari SARKOMAA Minister for Education

Mr Stefan WALLIN Minister for Culture and Sport

Sweden:

Mr Lars LEIJONBORG Minister for Education

Ms Lena ADELSOHN LILJEROTH Minister for Culture

Mr Christer HALLERBY State Secretary to the Minister for Integration and Equal Opportunities

United Kingdom:

Lord TRIESMAN Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Intellectual Property and Quality

Commission:

Mr Ján FIGEĽ Member

Mr Leonard ORBAN Member

ITEMS DEBATED

EDUCATION

Qualifications for lifelong learning

The Council reached political agreement on a draft Recommendation on the establishment of a European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (14115/07).

The aim of the proposal is to provide 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.

In November 2006, pending the European Parliament's opinion, the Council had already agreed a general approach[1] on the Commission proposal.

In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty and the joint declaration on practical arrangements for the codecision procedure[2], a series of informal meetings were subsequently held between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission, with a view to reaching an agreement on this dossier at first reading.

A set of compromise amendments was agreed between the three institutions and was duly approved by the European Parliament at its plenary part-session in October 2007[3]. The Council today confirmed its agreement on the amendments adopted by Parliament at first reading.

Formal adoption of the act will take place once the text has been finalised in all the official languages.

Proposed legal basis: Articles 149(4) and 150(4) of the Treaty – qualified majority required for a decision by the Council and codecision procedure with the European Parliament applies.

Improving the quality of teacher education – Council conclusions

The Council and the Representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council adopted the conclusions in document 14413/07.

Education and training as a key driver of the Lisbon Strategy – Council Resolution

The Council adopted the Resolution set out in 13933/07.

New skills for new jobs – Council Resolution

The Council adopted the Resolution set out in 14415/07.

Towards a more multilingual Europe

Following presentation by the Commission of its report on the implementation of the Action Plan "Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity"[4], the Council had the opportunity for an exchange of views on the concept of a more multilingual Europe.

The debate focused on the following points:

  • the challenges and objectives in this area which require the greatest attention over the medium term (the next 3 to 5 years);
  • the actions (education reforms, teacher training provisions, state funding, information campaigns, cooperation with enterprises, etc.) to be envisaged in order to reach these objective(s);
  • how the European Union can best support the efforts of Member States to achieve those objectives.

Many delegations stressed the importance of multilingualism for economic and social development and mentioned various measures to promote them such as:

  • learning languages at an early age but also lifelong learning, as part of vocational training, higher education as well as adult education;
  • suitable training for language teachers;
  • greater use of new technologies in language teaching;
  • an increase in exchanges and the promotion of mobility;
  • the development of language programmes fostering the integration of immigrants.

Erasmus Mundus

Pending the European Parliament's first-reading opinion, the Council established a general approach on a draft Decision[1] extending the scope of the current Erasmus Mundus programme until the end of the current financial framework (2013). The Erasmus Mundus programme is intended to promote higher education in Europe so that it can compete at the highest international level.

The main changes in the new programme compared with the existing programme are as follows:

  • the inclusion of doctoral studies;
  • the inclusion of partnerships with third-country institutions financed from the budget of other Community programmes on development;
  • the simplification of administrative procedures.

The general approach established by the Council will be the basis which the Slovenian Presidency can use for exploring the scope for a possible first-reading agreement with the European Parliament.

Proposed legal basis: Article 149(4) of the Treaty – qualified majority required for a decision by the Council; codecision procedure with the European Parliament applies.

Modernisation of universities

The Council held a wide-ranging debate on the modernisation of universities as the basis of European competitiveness in a knowledge-based world economy.

The delegations briefly described the modernisation processes underway in their countries, which generally take the form of greater autonomy for universities – resulting in greater responsibility – the adoption of management by objectives and, consequently, the need to be accountable.

Moreover, they acknowledged that the quality of higher education is a crucial to innovation, which in turn is one of the key elements for maintaining the EU's level of competitiveness internationally.

The results of this debate will be reflected in the draft Resolution on the same subject, submitted to the Council in the two configurations concerned (Education and Competitiveness), which will be adopted by the meeting that takes place last (Competitiveness).

Student mobility: broadening the social dimension of Erasmus

The Council discussed the possibility of stepping up social support for students from less favourable socio-economic backgrounds to extend access to the arrangements for mobility to all students.

The delegations were asked for their opinions on financial, and other forms of, support for students from less favourable socio-economic backgrounds.

CULTURE

First meeting of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council

The Council was briefed by the Presidency and the Commission on the outcome of the first EU-Russia PPC on Culture, held in Lisbon on 25 October 2007.

At that meeting the EU and the Russian Federation confirmed their commitment to applying the cultural aspects of the Road Map on the Common Space of Research and Education. The PPC also adopted a joint statement on the future direction of EU-Russia cultural cooperation.

The Council also took the opportunity to discuss the future of EU-Russia cultural cooperation.

European Agenda for Culture – Council Resolution

The Council adopted the Resolution set out in 14485/07.

European Capitals of Culture 2011

In accordance with Decision 1622/2006/EC [5], the Council designated Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) "European Capitals of Culture 2011".

The concept of the "European Capital of Culture" was originated by the Council in 1985, at the initiative of Ms Melina Mercouri, Greek Minister for Culture, as a means of bringing European peoples closer together.

The event has proved a success in terms of media coverage, development of culture and tourism and increased awareness of inhabitants of the importance of their town being chosen.

The EU's support for this event for 2007 – 2019 is regulated by Decision 1622/2006/EC.

YOUTH

Voluntary activities of young people – Council Resolution*

The Council adopted the Resolution set out in 14425/07.

Transversal approach to youth policy – Council conclusions

The Council adopted the conclusions set out in 14426/07, containing a series of key messages for the European Council.

European Youth Pact

The Council held an exchange of views on the better consideration of youth issues in the implementation of the Lisbon strategy.

  • Sustainable measures to be developed to enable a new working method to achieve the Lisbon strategy's objectives on youth.
  • Instruments that could improve the implementation and monitoring of the European Youth Pact.

The adoption of the European Youth Pact by the March 2005 European Council indicated the recognition, at the highest level, of the importance of integrating young people into society and employment, and of making better use of the potential they represent.

There are three aspects to the Pact:

  • employment, integration and social advancement;
  • education, training and mobility;
  • reconciliation of working life and family life.

Since its adoption, the Pact has served as a tool for incorporating consideration of youth-related problems into national implementation of the Lisbon strategy.

The exchange of views also provided an opportunity to prepare the ground for implementation of an innovative working method that will enable the strategy objectives in the youth field to be attained.

In this context, the discussion also contributed to the assessment process (2009) of the framework for cooperation between Member States in the field of youth.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

  • Proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Institute for Technology (EIT)
    Information from the Presidency on the state of play

• Applications regarding the European Capital of Culture event for the year 2012
Information from the Portuguese and Slovenian delegations

  • Events organised during the Portuguese Presidency in the field of education
    = Closing Conference of the 20th Anniversary of the Erasmus Programme
    (Lisbon, 4 and 5 October 2007)

= High-Level Meeting on modernising universities in Europe
(Lisbon, 6 November 2007)

Information from the Presidency

  • Compendium of good practice on modernising higher education
    Information from the Commission on the state of play
  • 2008 joint interim report of the Council and the Commission on progress under the "Education & Training 2010" work programme
    Presentation by the Commission
  • Events organised during the Portuguese Presidency in the field of Culture
    = Conference "Disclosure and Preservation: Fostering European Culture in the Digital Landscape" (Lisbon, 7 and 8 September 2007)

    = Meeting of the Cultural Contact Points (Lisbon, 28 September 2007)

    = Conference "Audiovisual online content" (Lisbon, 7 to 9 October 2007)

    = Conference "The Culture and Creative Sector in the Lisbon Agenda (Lisbon, 31 October and 1 November 2007)

    = Meeting of the National Coordinators of the European Year of Intercultural
    Dialogue – 2008 (Lisbon, 14 November 2007);

    Information from the Presidency
  • Forthcoming events in the field of Culture

    = Cultural Heritage and Society (Lisbon, 5 and 6 December 2007);

    = Meeting of the European Board of Archives (Lisbon, 7 December 2007)

    Information from the Presidency
  • Protection of European underwater cultural heritage
    Information from the Spanish delegation
  • Declaration by the European Commission – Government of the People's Republic of China in the fields of culture and education
    Information from the Commission

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

INTERNAL MARKET

Chemicals – REACH Regulation – Enlargement

The Council adopted a Regulation adapting the REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania (13366/07).

The Regulation amends the definition of phase-in substance so as to subject substances manufactured or marketed in Bulgaria and Romania before accession to the European Union to the same conditions as substances manufactured or marketed in the other EU Member States.

Review procedures concerning the award of public contracts*

The Council adopted at first reading, further to agreement reached with the European Parliament, a Directive amending Council Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC with regard to improving the effectiveness of review procedures concerning the award of public contracts (3634/07).

The main aim of this new Directive is to add essential clarifications to Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC to ensure that the Community as a whole fully benefits from the positive effects of the modernisation and simplification of the rules on public procurement achieved by Directives 2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC.

The Directive provides for minimum standstill periods during which the conclusion of the contract in question is suspended, irrespective of whether conclusion occurs at the time of signature of the contract or not. The standstill period should give the tenderers concerned sufficient time to examine the contract award decision and to assess whether it is appropriate to initiate a review procedure.

FISHERIES

Agreement with Madagascar

The Council adopted a Regulation on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Republic of Madagascar and a Decision allocating among the Member States the fishing opportunities laid down in the Protocol to the Agreement for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2012 (13153/07 REV 1 and 13154/07).

The fishing opportunities laid down in the Protocol, which was amended on 16 March 2007, were fixed according to three categories: (1) for the fishing category "freezer tuna seiners": 43 vessels; (2) for the fishing category "surface longliners over 100 GT": 50 vessels and (3) for the fishing category "surface longliners of 100 GT or below": 26 vessels.

In addition, 5 vessels are authorised to conduct exploratory line or bottom longline fishing for demersal species for two six-month periods.


[1] 14478/06 + 14965/07.

[2] OJ C 148, 28.5.1999, p. 1.

[3] 14200/07.

[4] 13346/07 + ADD 1.

[1] Commission proposal: 11708/07.

[5] OJ L 304, 3.11.2006, p. 1.


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