The first Council meeting for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport under the Danish Presidency of the European Union was held on 10th February 2012. The Education Ministers adopted the 2012 Joint Report on the implementation of the “Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training” (ET2020) together with the priorities for the next work cycle (2012-2014).
The discussion started from the analysis of the Annual Growth Survey from the European Commission from November 2011 showing that youth unemployment is very high in some EU Member States. The main topic of the political debate was political initiatives to be taken in 2012 within the field of education and training to fight youth unemployment and to ensure a smoother transition from education to work.
In the debate EU ministers discussed how to reduce early school leaving, strengthen higher education and create a better link between theory and practice in education in order to better prepare young people for the labour market. Several Member States highlighted dual education systems as a good example. Commissioner Vassiliou emphasised the importance of education and training as part of the solution to recovery from the current financial crisis in Europe and called on the Member States to step up their efforts to achieve the EU headline targets on early school leaving and higher education attainment,as well as to reach the aims of the “ET2020” framework in general.
The main conclusions from the debate will form part of the contribution to the debate on the Europe 2020 Strategy for Growth and Employment that will take place at the spring meeting for Heads of State and Government in the European Council.
For further information: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/127945.pdf