On 3 December 2019, EFEE’s General Assembly came together at the European Parliament in Brussels. The General Assembly was hosted by MEP Dace Melbarde, Vice-Chair of EP Committee on Education and Culture (CULT) and received a keynote speech by European Commissioner for Youth and Innovation, Ms Mariya Gabriel.

Ms Melbarde addressed lifelong learning, digitalization, skills, adult education and the European way of life as key topics on the EU agenda with regards to social policies. She furthermore focused on the priorities of the CULT Committee with regards to education, which include making the European Education Area a reality, increasing the budget of the Erasmus Programme, and ensuring that education and culture are fit for the challenges of the 21st century. Lastly, Ms Melbarde stressed the importance of a close collaboration between the CULT Committee and EFEE, in particular with regards to two hearing in late 2020 on EEA goals and AI in education, as well as on a report on the role of education in the European Green Deal.

Hereafter, the General Assembly was addressed by keynote speaker, Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Youth and Innovation. Ms Gabriel discussed the Commission’s three main priorities with regards to education for the current legislation period, in particular the European Education Area, the Digital Education Plan and a Green Erasmus. While these initiatives mostly touch upon already well-established notions, including lifelong learning, mobility and skills management, the Commissioner also touched upon some new European-wide goals, such as the child guarantee and micro-credits. In order to achieve these ambitious goals of the EU, Ms Gabriel stressed the importance of Commissioners cooperating with each other. In this regard, she mentioned the close relations she already has with the Commissioner for Jobs, Nicolas Schmit. Drawing from her past experience as European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, she furthermore recognizes the need for synergies between education initiatives and other programmes as well as cooperation between the education sector and the labour market. Ms Gabriel went on to lament the cuts proposed under the Finnish Presidency to the Multiannual Financial Framework and called the guarantee of this budget one of the most important challenges that the EU now faces. The Commissioner closed off her address by urging every stakeholder to raise their voices and think outside the box on education issues. She will rely on the expertise of experts such as EFEE to create the next education policies on EU level and therefore welcomed any future cooperation possibilities between EFEE and her team.

Lastly, the General Assembly discussed the EFEE Work Programme 2020 and the creation of a Vision Committee. Members were furthermore introduced to CEEP, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of General Interest, who EFEE will be cooperating with from 2020 onwards in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and skills development.

For more details, please contact isaline.ossieur@educationemployers.eu