The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is drafting an opinion on Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture (COM(2017) 673). The opinion will react to and bring forward ideas from the local and regional point of view to the European Commission’s Communication published on 14 November 2017 proposing an ambitious Agenda to create a European Education Area by 2025.

EU Leaders met in Gothenburg to explore how the EU’s education and culture policies can make a greater impact on the creation of jobs, economic growth and social fairness throughout the EU. Whilst welcoming the development, the CoR is concerned that the role of local and regional authorities is not sufficiently taken into account. Indeed, rapporteur insists that they continue to play a pivotal role in implementing and adapting the proposed measures and reforms in response to the European Commission’s position on the way forward towards a European Education Area and a stronger focus on EU culture. On the topic of European identity and awareness of cultural heritage, the rapporteur calls for specific measures to preserve, develop and popularise Europe’s traditional arts and crafts, as well as living heritage and living history initiatives, due to their interactive nature which facilitates learning by doing and cultural engagement. She also calls for the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage to be included in strategic initiatives supporting regional cultural development and opening up new opportunities for sustainable cultural tourism. When it comes to education, the opinion focuses on the potential of digitalisation, expressing concern that “many schools do not yet have access to high-speed connectivity and digital equipment”. Investment in language and entrepreneurship education as well as media literacy should also be priorities for Europe.

 

Adoption timetable:

  • 1st discussion and adoption in SEDEC on 21 February 2018
  • Final adoption in Plenary session of May 2018

In our EP report on the News Skills Agenda we have highlighted the role of regions in providing vocational education and training. Regions have their individual labour market needs and these should be taken into account when adapting education programmes.

Michaela Šojdrová
MEP

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