The EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport will take place on 19-20 May. Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will represent the European Commission. The Commissioner will participate in a press conference on culture and youth at 17:15 on 19 May; the press conference on education will take place at around 13:00 on 20 May.
Thursday, 19 May
The Council is expected to reach a political agreement on the European Heritage Label as an EU initiative. The label would set up an independent panel to select sites that celebrate and symbolise European integration, ideals and history (see IP/10/250). The first sites to receive the new Label are due to be announced in 2013.
The Commissioner and Ministers are expected to confirm the designation of Plzen (Czech Republic) as 2015 European Capital of Culture (IP/10/1101).
They will discuss the contribution of culture to the Europe 2020 strategy; latest studies show that the cultural and creative industries provide jobs for 8.5 million people in the EU and contribute 4.5% to Europe's GDP. Commissioner Vassiliou is in favour of strengthening the Culture programme and MEDIA programme for cinema to boost their support for jobs and growth.
Ministers will also discuss setting up mobility information services in Member States to better inform people working in the culture sector about regulatory, administrative and other issues, as well as funding and training opportunities.
The Council is expected to agree on an integrated policy aimed at encouraging young people to get more involved in the democratic life of their communities, for instance by being encouraged to vote and to stand for elections themselves. They will also underline their support for a Structured Dialogue between the EU institutions and young people to address youth unemployment. The EU's youth strategy, adopted by the Commission in 2009 (IP/09/644), invited all Member States to organise a regular dialogue with young people. Commissioner Vassiliou, together with Youth Ministers from the current and future 'Team Presidencies' (Belgium, Hungary, Poland and Denmark), will meet representatives of the European Youth Forum and National Youth Councils in the margins of the meeting.
Ministers will also discuss volunteering by young people and its contribution to the development of communities. The Commissioner will highlight the benefits of 'intergenerational' volunteering, stressing that young volunteers can learn a lot from working with the elderly.
Friday, 20 May
The meeting will discuss the action plan on early school-leaving which Commissioner Vassiliou presented in January (see IP/11/109). One in seven young people in Europe quit education or training without adequate qualifications and this harms their personal development and job prospects. The measures proposed by the Commission would help EU countries to achieve their joint target of reducing the share of early school leavers in Europe from 14.4% now to fewer than 10% by 2020.
Commissioner Vassiliou will underline her commitment to enabling more young people to have the opportunity of gaining valuable skills and experience through studies, training or volunteering abroad. The meeting will discuss ways of removing obstacles to learning mobility. These include administrative barriers, problems with the portability of student grants and loans abroad, and difficulties in gaining proper recognition for study and training in other countries.
Ministers will discuss the Commission's proposals for universal access to pre-school education, presented in February (see IP/11/185). Commissioner Vassiliou will underline that availability and access to high-quality early childhood education and care has the potential to improve children's performance at school and to address social disadvantage.
The Council is expected to adopt the European Union's roadmap on sport policy. This work plan includes measures to strengthen cooperation at EU level, in particular in relation to the fight against doping, and to enhance good governance, education, health and the sustainable financing of sport. The roadmap is based on Commissioner Vassiliou's proposal on developing a European dimension in sport which was published in January (IP/11/43). Ministers will also discuss sport-related aspects of on-line betting, including match-fixing and the sustainable financing of sport. Commissioner Vassiliou will stress the importance of the consultation on the Green Paper on online gambling (IP/11/358) and the need to strengthen cooperation with the Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee to address match-fixing and corruption in sport.
European Commission: Culture
European Commission: Education
European Commission: Youth
European Commission: Sport
Hungarian Presidency website: Council meeting, 19-20 May