S&Ds encourage national EU leaders to take education seriously as part of the Social Pillar

Students at graduation ceremony

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today welcomed the plan published today by the Commission to create an EU 'area of education' by 2025. It has been presented as a contribution to the EU leaders' meeting on 17 November 2017 in Gothenburg to discuss the social pillar and the S&D Group hopes that national leaders will take up the task.
 
The S&D Group particularly welcomes the proposal to double the number of Erasmus+ students and to raise the profile of disadvantaged people, but hopes that this ambitious goal will be matched by an appropriate budget. Also that member states will follow the Commission's recommendation to increase investment in education.
 
The chair of the parliamentary committee on culture and education, S&D MEP Petra Kammerevert, said:
 
"The paper is in many ways the best and most ambitious strategy paper that has been written for years at EU level on both policy areas. We are particularly pleased that the Commission finally takes up the S&D call for universal early childhood education to be guaranteed from the age of three across the EU.
 
"Beyond the specific proposals we also perceive a new approach in line with our vision. What is new is that the Commission recognises that the creation of a European identity must be more pro-active and that this can only succeed through education and culture. In this case, we would definitely support the Commission. The goal must be to give each individual the tools they need to build their own safe future in the EU and actively participate in a European society.”
 
Silvia Costa MEP, the S&D spokesperson on culture and education, added:
 
“I have said many times that the Gothenburg Social Summit must make specific reference to the educational and cultural dimension of Europe, a prerequisite for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. I hope that the plan published today will be given adequate space during the leaders’ summit.
 
“It is important that some strategic goals have finally been identified for building a European education area. This is definitely part of the solution for better employability, skills, social inclusion and strengthening of citizenship and resilience skills to address the major changes globalisation brings.
 
“We appreciate the inclusion of our proposal for an EU Student Card and the reduction of barriers to mobility not only through increased co-operation between European universities, but also through more degrees offered jointly by universities in different EU countries and mutual recognition of diplomas and degrees.
 
“We also welcome the offer of further support to the investments made by member states in education, also aimed at ensuring social mobility.”