Education, Youth, Culture, Sport Council, 21-22 November 2016
This article was submitted by Cristiana Nicoletti from Eurodesk UK Partner Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council.
On 21 and 22 November the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) ministers of all 28 EU Member States met in Brussels to discuss the challenges young Europeans face in modern society. They wanted to answer the question: how can and should European institutions provide them with better opportunities for their living and working conditions? The meeting is the last appointment of the agenda of EYCS Council for the year 2016; the Ministers are meeting again in May 2017. The European Commission was represented at the meeting by Tibor Navracsics, the Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner. The two day programme of the EYCS Council focused on Youth and Education issues on Monday and on Culture and Sport topics on Tuesday.
Outcomes of the Council meeting
The Council recommends that the capacities of youth workers be strengthened through education, training and networking opportunities, guidance and financial support in order to let them explore the potential of young people; particular attention should go to those of different backgrounds, marginalised and disadvantaged groups. Ministers exchanged opinions on how to reconnect young people with the European project, also as a follow-up to the debates at the Bratislava informal summit in September 2016: it is only by creating a promising economic future for all and providing better opportunities for youth that the EU will keep young people willing to work and to volunteer for Europe.
The Council adopted a resolution on a New Skills Agenda to promote lifelong investment in people. The Ministers particularly recommended the cooperation between education and training that should prepare people not only for the labour market, but also for social inclusion and development of active citizens. According to the Council, EU countries should put preventive soft measures, such as education, voluntary, cultural activities and youth work, into practice in order to fight against radicalisation leading to violent extremism. The Council took note of the proposition for a European student card which should encourage cooperation between higher education institutions, allowing for access to services addressed to students in any EU state adopting this card.
The Council took note of the revision of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive in order to better align it with the technological changes we are experiencing. The directive intends to ensure the protection of the general public’s interests and to promote the European fight against hate speech. The Ministers adopted a general approach regarding the proposal for a decision on a European Year of Cultural Heritage (2018): “The Council recognises the importance to transmit the values of the European heritage to future generations as a source of identity and a precious resource for economic growth, employment and social cohesion.” declared the Commissioner Navracsics.
Issues concerning European Culture capitals from 2020 to 2033 and international cultural relations have been approached as well.
The Council met the representatives of sport organisations: the “structured dialogue” highlighted the importance of a direct confrontation between decisions-makers and the people on the ground.
Actually, the importance of sport in the personal development of people, their values and diplomacy can also influence intercultural, social and political relations. The Council invited the member States to better explore and support the potential of sport activities in order to promote positive European values.