European Commission: education is key to future of the union

The European Commission (EC) has released a new report titled Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture. It was presented as part of the European Union Leaders’ meeting, which took place on 17 November in Gothenburg.

“Sixty years after the signing of the Treaties of Rome, strengthening our European identity remains essential and education and culture are the best vectors to ensure this,” states the EC in the introduction. “Europe does not excel in delivering high-quality skills, as even the best-performing member states are outperformed by advanced Asian countries.

“Europe has, however, the ambition to grasp all opportunities created by new developments. It is therefore in the shared interest of all member states to harness the full potential of education and culture as drivers for jobs, social fairness, active citizenship as well as a means to experience European identity in all its diversity.”

The report identifies three key areas where it believes the European Union can make a positive impact: boosting cross-border cooperation, investing in education and strengthening a sense of European identity.

Proposals include additional funding for the Erasmus student exchange programme; setting a Europe-wide benchmark that by 2025 all students finishing upper secondary education have a good knowledge of two languages in addition to their mother tongue; and setting up an eTwinning network that will make it easier for teachers to move between countries.

The EC concludes: “Putting education and culture at the heart of our reflection on how to strengthen our shared European identity, and putting forward concrete ideas and initiatives to achieve this goal, are the best way to sustain the diversity and richness of our Union.”

The full report can be read online here.