Conclusions of the EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, 10-11 May 2012, Bruxelles

Conclusions of the EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, 10-11 May 2012, Bruxelles

The EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport held on 10-11 May 2012 in Brussels concentrated on a host of different issues.
The main results are summarised below:

Audiovisual and culture
The Council reached a partial general approach on two proposals for regulations:
– establishing the “Creative Europe” programme;
– establishing the programme “Europe for Citizens”.

The Council adopted a decision designating the European Capitals of Culture for the year 2016.

Furthermore, the Council adopted conclusions on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation.

The Council adopted conclusions on combating doping in recreational sport. Ministers held a public debate on the future challenges in the fight against doping, including in recreational sport.

The Council reached a partial general approach on the proposal for a regulation establishing the”ERASMUS FOR ALL’ programme.

The Council preparatory bodies have worked intensively on the proposal since January and the agreement reached on the basis of a Presidency compromise text constitutes a political mandate for future Presidencies to engage in informal negotiations with the European Parliament during the second half of 2012 with a view to reaching overall agreement on the proposal early in 2013.

The main changes introduced in the Commission’s proposal are the following:

– a separate youth chapter with a separate budget for youth : many member states called for greater visibility for the youth field, some of them wishing an entirely separate programme;

– programme management: a single management committee, meeting in specific configurations, if deemed necessary, with member states sending the relevant representatives. Most member states and the Commission stressed the need of a consistent implementation, as well as improved coordination at national level for achieving costefficiency;

– support for academic institutions: keeping the six academic institutions active in the field of European integration studies which currently receive funding from the Lifelong Learning ;

– a special provision to ensure access to the Programme for people with special needs or with fewer opportunities;

– national agencies allocations for learning mobility funds : minimum allocations for each of the different education and training sectors, in order to minimise imbalances between member states which might occur due to geographical situation or differences in the costs of living;

– a reference to European values in article 3 of the regulation

Commissioner Vassiliou emphasised that the innovative integrated approach of Erasmus for all must be preserved and that the distinction between the youth field and the other parts of the programme was in fact artificial. She welcomed the fact that the fundamental principles underpinning its proposal had been maintained in the Presidency compromise package. However, she regretted some of the changes made, in particular the creation of a separate youth chapter and budget, the removal of specific indicators and the rejection of the Commission’s proposal for a single coordinating body as National Agency in each Member State.
Finally, Commissioner Vassiliou also considered that the important budget allocation proposed for the programme will send a clear signal to young people and also to the adult learners that Europe is strongly committed and will have the means of tackling their problems.

In the framework of education, the Council also adopted conclusions on the employability of graduates from education and training.

The Council adopted conclusions on fostering the creative and innovative potential of young people.
Furthermore, ministers had a public debate on the theme: “Engaging with young people to release their potential”.
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