We live in a constantly changing world. The social, economic, cultural, digital and
technological changes of the paradigm we are living through are rapidly transforming the
approach of citizens to education, art and culture, empowering them to enjoy wider access to
knowledge and different ways to access content, multiplying opportunities to learn, to create
and to participate even more than ever before.
However, a broken social elevator has led to a decrease in the confidence of the younger
generations in education and culture as a vehicle for quality employment or for
empowerment. They have instead started to see education and culture just as instruments for
generating personal satisfaction and social interaction amongst all generations.
Our European Socialists and Democrats (S&D) family in the European Parliament is aware of
the challenges ahead but determined to embrace the opportunities that can arise from them.
We want to actively shape the design of a more inclusive future European society.
We are aware that only universal access to quality inclusive education systems from an early
age, with a simultaneous lifelong learning approach, can reduce and prevent inequalities, social
discrimination, and poverty, whilst promoting human dignity, personal and social
development, quality employability and true European citizenship.
It is only through access to education and culture, inspired by and oriented to our shared
values that form the basis of our common European identity, that we can develop both critical
thinking and openness, as well as social well-being, inclusion and cohesion.
This is also the main tool to fight social exclusion and marginalisation, fake news, hate speech
and the spread of intentional misinformation that, also through the internet and other social
platforms, feeds populism and dangerous nationalism.
We are committed to playing an active role in the development of an effective European
Education Area, to promote equal opportunities and social inclusion, while respecting
subsidiarity, through a convergence of national education systems based on
quantitative and qualitative benchmarks. In this way, we want to foster mobility, automatic
mutual recognition of diplomas and outcomes of learning periods abroad, a common sense
of belonging to Europe and better employability.
Despite the deplorable fact that the field of culture was not mentioned in the ten priorities
of the European Commission for the 2015-2019 period, we have worked with dedication
to develop a holistic approach to European cultural policy, starting with its identification as
one of the sector that could benefit from the Juncker Plan, recognising that the richness
of European cultural and linguistic diversity is not in contradiction with the appreciation of our
common cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.
We believe that Europe should provide strong foundations for the functioning of our societies,
as well as common goals and a legal framework clearly defined at the level of the European
Union (EU), in respect of European common and long-standing values, asking for example
for a courageous revision of the Treaties to grant the EU with more and wider competences
in education and culture. This is essential to help us face the future so as to continue to ensure
peace and cooperation.
Achieving these goals can only be done by investing in people. People have always been
our priority. Education is a pre-condition for poverty eradication, human development and
social inclusiveness, and investing in people first means investing in their education, skills and
competences, with a specific focus on youth.
Indeed, the experiences of many young Europeans, researchers, students and artists show
that the European dimension is a true space of freedom, creativity and opportunities.
We are committed to step-up to these challenges and put forward all our proposals for a
European Union that puts in place a strong social agenda, which gives priority to quality
education and employment prospects and a greater access to culture.