Adapting education to new realities, creating more opportunities for young people: Bulgarian Presidency hosts key debates about the Future of Europe


Photo: European Union

Bulgarian Minister for Education and Science Krasimir Valchev and Minister for Youth and Sports Krasen Kralev today hosted two important political debates in the Council of the EU. The discussions, on the topics of “The potential of universities for regional growth and for promoting entrepreneurial and innovative skills” and “Future priorities for EU youth policy”, took place on the first day of the May Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting in Brussels. Both topics enable the Bulgarian Presidency to deliver on its main horizontal priorities, the Future of Europe and  Young people.

In the area of education, ministers also identified concrete steps that the EU should take to move forward towards a European education area. Their work follows up on the guidelines issued by the European leaders in December 2017 and builds on the ministerial discussion that the Bulgarian Presidency organised in February. The adopted paper contains take-aways from two Presidency conferences organised in April.

Finally, the Council also adopted two sets of recommendations for Member States’ national policies in the area of education, on key competences for lifelong learning
and on promoting common values, inclusive education, and the European dimension of teaching.

Commenting on today’s meeting, minister Valchev said:

"All EU citizens have the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that allow full participation in society and successful transitions in the labour market. The European Union can do a lot to help harness the full potential of education as a driver for job creation, economic growth and social fairness."

After an informal lunch on how to reform the existing mechanism for consulting young people, known as the "structured dialogue", the Council adopted conclusions on the role of young people in building a secure, cohesive and harmonious society, as well as conclusions on the role of young people in addressing demographic challenges.

The Council also discussed the future priorities of EU youth policy in the presence of Mr Hassan Al Hilou, Community Leader of the YouthTalks Foundation. The discussion was intended to feed the debate on the revised European Youth Strategy. The new strategy sets out proposals to define a European cooperation framework on issues affecting young people for the period 2019-24 and focuses, among other things, on the active participation of young people in democratic life in Europe.

Minister Kralev said:

"Young people and sport play a key role in building secure and cohesive societies, addressing societal changes and promoting the common values of the EU. It is our duty to empower our youth and to create the right conditions for sport to play its role in society."

More information about today’s meeting is available here.

Pictures and videos are available here.

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